The Heroes Project

Gwinnett Magazine Heroes Project 2016: Charlie Tanksley

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“We’ve got no control over what happens to us, but we can decide how we’re going to respond.”
– Charlie Tanksley

CharlieCharlie Tanksley isn’t bothered by much these days.

A typical day finds the 62-year-old local contractor dedicated to helping people with home repairs. But Stage 3A esophageal cancer blindsided him last year, forcing him to become the recipient of others’ assistance.

He made the decision to give it to God from the very beginning and said there’s incredible freedom in powerlessness. Nevertheless, it was a humbling situation to accept others’ help after fixing problems for a living.

When emotion breaks his voice, it’s only out of gratitude for others.

“Not accepting help is to deprive another person of the blessing of serving,” he said. “Just say ‘yes’.”

Tanksley was put on a liquid diet following the removal of 65 percent of his esophagus and 20 percent of his stomach but he is currently treatment-free and has lower cholesterol.

For him, everything has an upside when you look at it the right way—
even cancer.

“We’ve got no control over what happens to us but we can decide how we’re going to respond,” he said. “Life’s too short. Don’t take anything for granted. If you love people, tell them now.”