Charles "Charlie" Grant was a beloved and loyal best friend to many who were incredibly fortunate to know him, and who remain forever grateful he touched their lives.
He lived his inspiring life with gusto, and enjoyed a successful career as a compassionate lawyer. His many passions included a love of travel, fishing (of any sort), cooking, and serving as the consummate host for friends who regularly gathered at his house.
At age 47, Charlie was in the best health of his life. He had always been focused on his health, but in his mid-40s had become even more vigilant about his diet, took up yoga, hit the gym several times a week, and ran and biked frequently.
On Memorial Day 2011, after spending a fun weekend with friends, reality blinked, and life as Charlie knew it changed. After several rounds of tests, a biopsy and surgery, Charlie was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiform tumor, the most serious and aggressive of all brain tumors.
For many, this news would have been devastating, but in true Charlie fashion, he faced this challenge directly, optimistically and immediately. These were some of his first words, following his diagnosis:
This cancer has provided to me unparalleled focus and desire to win. I shall not be defined by this cancer, but by my fight against the cancer. Nothing else matters. And nothing matters without the wholly undeserved support, love, thoughts, and prayers of my friends and family. I am truly one of the fortunate ones.
Your efforts shall not be in vain.”
Charlie began extensive research right away. He was confident in Western medicine and his doctors, but he wanted to take control of the situation as best he could, giving himself and the treatment he would receive the best chance of fighting this illness.
He found the book Anti-Cancer by David Servan-Schreiber MD PhD, whose ideas on “taking care of your terrain” were illuminating, and this book quickly became his roadmap. To fine-tune many of the dietary concepts contained in Anti-Cancer, Charlie also consulted with a nutritional oncologist.
If his friends thought he was laser focused on his diet before his diagnosis, they hadn't seen anything yet. Once he was armed with a plan and this wealth of information about the power of nutrition and lifestyle in preventing and fighting disease, Charlie immediately adopted a new way of life and did not waver from it. In fact he relished it!
Always the competitor, Charlie took on this challenge with exuberance and determination. He adopted the rallying cry "PTAFW" (Prove Them All 'Effing' Wrong) which was inspired by a message the pro golfer Darren Clarke reportedly received from his manager to motivate Darren to win the 2011 Open Championship. An avid golf fan, Charlie wrote in his blog, "I read about it the day after Darren's victory, loved it, and began using it as motivation in my fight. I have always been a huge fan of Darren and admire how he has handled, like a champion, more than his fair share of adversity."
Charlie also came up with "gentler versions" of the acronym "for the young and sensitive":
Pure Truth And Faith Win
Prove Them All Fully Wrong
Charlie, like many facing a life challenge, preferred the version with the stronger word. As he said, "Because Life Isn't Always Polite." In his blog he wrote, "PTAFW is all about the human spirit. PTAFW is for all people who've been told:
Nothing is more powerful than the human spirit and the will to succeed. You have the heart and desire. You will achieve every goal and every dream.
For almost two years, Charlie fought cancer with unbelievable courage and tenacity, never losing his love and appreciation for life. In fact, he once confided to a friend that “these were the best two years of his life.” He went on to explain the reason – that he found a new appreciation for life, love and the beauty that surrounds us all.
He far surpassed the odds given to him early in his initial diagnosis, and he credited his full embrace of his “WHOLE-istic” approach to fighting this disease with extending his life – most importantly his quality of life.
Read Tributes to Charlie from his friends.
To read more of Charlie's journey, in his own words, please visit his blog.