Sometimes I run across someone so inspiring it stops me in my tracks. Seeing someone rise above tremendous circumstances is an encouragement to me.
Someone who has faced adversity, heartbreak and humiliation yet reacted with grace, dignity and love. Someone who could’ve been bitter but chose gentleness instead. Someone who could’ve cloistered himself in solitude and self pity but chose to get involved. Someone determined to make his life matter regardless of what mountains he had to climb to get there.
Forty-four-year-old Charles Duncan is that amazing man whose story fascinates me. How Charles chooses to live his life and the immense love overflowing from his 6-foot 4-inch frame leaves me with such admiration for his determination to look beyond his own struggles in order to make an impact in this world. And what an incredible difference he’s making for both people and rescue animals.
Charles is no stranger to adversity. He developed leukemia as a child then was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and other medical issues he deals with daily.
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He was an only child, and when his mother died last year he had no siblings to care for him. So he went to live with his mother’s cousin Janet Goree and her husband, Jack, in Camilla.
Although his IQ is considered genius, Charles is bothered because he’s different. He wishes people would only see the love in his heart. But I know a beautiful soul can come wrapped in many different packages.
Losing his mother gave him pause to evaluate his own life. He feared no one would remember him because he’s done nothing significant with his life.
Isn’t this the fear my homeless pets have too -- that their lives don’t matter? That they won’t be remembered?
Well, Charles sensed that same fear in homeless pets and decided to make his life matter by doing something to help them. So he and Janet decided to transport formerly homeless pets to fosters or new families out of town, plucking them from the depths of despair to the joy of brand new lives.
He’s already done 10 transports, and one of his most poignant moments was when a yellow lab in the euthanasia room waiting for her life to be extinguished was saved because Charles’ transport was scheduled. Charles took her and another dog halfway across the country to soldiers in Texas who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Despite his own personal trials, this beautiful point of light named Charles Duncan selflessly puts the needs of others above his own. Yes, he’s different but in a way we all should emulate. I don’t think he has to worry any longer about being forgotten. He’s leaving a legacy of blessings that would make anyone proud.
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