It’s the little things in life that make Charleen Bonnette the happiest.
“I love going fishing, doing puzzles, sewing and being with my family,” she said with a smile.
Charleen is a beloved part of her family. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, and a friend to many in the Benton community.
However, she received unexpected news in March that completely devastated her. Charleen, known as Mamaw Charleen, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
“I cried,” she said. “I thought my world was over.”
This is the second time Charleen has battled cancer. The first was a lymphoma diagnosis in 2001 and she underwent many radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
Now, Charleen says the statistics are against her.
“My doctor said it’s very rare to go into remission. That’s why I’ll have to be medicated for the rest of my lifetime,” she explained.
But she isn’t ready to give up the fight and neither is her family or the community. A fundraiser has been organized for Saturday, July 26, to help raise money to cover medical expenses and treatments.
The fundraiser will be held at Central Baptist Church, located at 2225 Airline Drive in Bossier City. The event includes a raffle, bake sale, t-shirt sale and much more. Southern Traditions will also be selling lunch plates.
Festivities begin at 8 a.m. and drawings will begin at 3 p.m. There will also be hourly door prize giveaways. All proceeds will go to help cover Charleen’s medical treatments and bills.
The last fundraiser event they held was a success, raising enough money to pay for her PET scan and refill the prescription she needed. Charleen’s granddaughter, Kameron Bonnette, and other family members have also been selling t-shirts to raise money as well.
The outpouring of support and prayers has overwhelmed Charleen with many emotions.
“I never realized how good people can be to someone they don’t even know,” she said as tears filled her eyes. “I’m so grateful for everybody. There have been days I really thought I wouldn’t be here. I’m so thankful for the prayers and the support.”
Charleen hopes to attend the July 26 event, depending on how well she feels that day. Although it may not be a long visit, she wants to thank as many people as she can for their help.
“We couldn’t do it without them and we certainly couldn’t do it without God,” she said. “There truly is power in prayer. You can’t fight this kind of battle alone. Rely on your friends and family to see you through, but always put God first.”
Charleen will go back to the doctor in a few weeks to see what the next step in her treatment is. She hopes to one day return to doing the things she once loved, especially fishing.
“This is all God’s will, not mine. I thank him every day for my small miracles,” she said.