Celebrate Central: 28 Years of Faithful Service

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By Mia Freneaux

    There are many people in this great city of ours who quietly go about their business and never get any acknowledgement for the great work they do.  They don’t mind, because that’s not what motivates them.  Chuck Langlois is one of these people.  For the past 28 years Chuck has organized the annual St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Bike-a-thon.  He has publicized it, found sponsorship from local businesses, encouraged kids to participate, found donors for prizes, and supplied refreshments for the event itself out of his own pocket.  He even gets on his bike himself and pedals around .  He is wholeheartedly dedicated to this great cause.  “I went last year and was given a tour of St. Jude’s,” Chuck said, “Did you know It costs $1,000,000 A DAY to run St. Jude’s Hospital, and all of it comes from donations!” 

    Everyone in Central can point to some child they know who has benefitted or is benefitting from the wonderful work done at St. Jude’s.  No child is turned away for treatment, and their families don’t have to pay what insurance won’t cover.  It is one of the premier cancer treatment facilities in the world, with cutting edge research being pursued right under the same roof.  Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital is in partnership with them to bring that kind of care to Louisiana.  Actor Danny Thomas began St. Jude’s in 1962 with the vision that “no child should die at the dawn of life.” From one man’s dream to the reality of a treatment complex employing 3400 people and a budget of more than $400,000,000 annually, St. Jude’s has become a haven of hope to families stricken with a cancer diagnosis.

    “I became involved 28 years ago when I was Vice President of CABA (now the Central Chamber of Commerce).  We received an information packet from St. Jude’s.  I have had a father die from cancer, and so many other relations and friends, so I volunteered to head it up,” Chuck shared.  Sybil Robinson assisted him in the event for years and was a great help to him, especially after he suffered a debilitating aneurysm 19 years ago.  Chuck remembered, “She came to the hospital and gave me the “angel on my shoulder” pin I wear to this day.” Sybil sadly died from the very disease she was trying to help fight. His other “angel” has been his wife Christi, without whose love and support Chuck readily admits he could not have kept on going.

    Five years ago the Bike-a-thon was moved from Central High School to Bellingrath Elementary due to traffic becoming too heavy on Wax Road.  Folks who want to participate get their sponsor sheets from Sullivan’s Hardware or any Central Fire Department location, find sponsors who agree to pay them an amount of money for every mile they bike, and show up at Bellingrath on the day of the event with their bicycles.  After the event is over, they have a set number of days to collect their pledges.  During its history, Central’s bike-a-thon has raised close to $200,000, almost entirely from the efforts of children.  100% of all the funds go directly to St. Jude’s.

    Chuck spoke of the businesses in Central who have supported him faithfully over the years:  Sullivan’s Hardware, Jerry Lee’s, Doug Welborn’s office, A&B Utilities, Greco’s, Acadiana Group,  B&B Cabinets, Parish Electric, PriceCo, Hannis T. Bourgeois Accounting, Central Drug, Reynerson’s, Journey Church, Oak Point Market, Custom Clean Carpet Cleaners, GM Cable, Clif Richardson, Stewart Trucking, Central Physical Therapy, Covers Unlimited, Ellis Johnson State Farm, JP Rice State Farm, Carol Campbell with ROCO Rescue, Future Hope Ministries, St. Alphonsus’ Men’s Club, Central Pools, Boogies Bubbles, Tiger Central, Southern Power, and Roy and Gail Bell.  It reads like a “Who’s Who” of Central.  Chuck’s good friend Chris Ferrara of Ferrara Fire Apparatus donates the two bicycles given to the top fundraisers each year. On top of everything else, Chuck asks 10 businesses to sponsor him with a $100.00 pledge, then he proceeds to get on his bike and ride a mile! “I’ve only fallen once,” he grins.  For a man still suffering from the effects of the aneurysm and several strokes since then, he is truly a challenge and inspiration to all the rest of us. 

    Chuck shared about his niece, Kenlie Jackson, who was diagnosed with a synovial sarcoma soft tissue tumor in her knee.  She received radiation treatments at St. Jude’s and is now in remission.  “This Bike-A-Thon is my passion,” Chuck, who gives credit to his Lord Jesus Christ as the reason he’s here and able to do this, stated simply,“ I’m going to keep doing this until there is no more cancer.”

    St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Bike-A-Thon takes place on June 11th. Registration opens at 8:30, the event officially begins at 9:00. Checks should be made out to the hospital and can be mailed to Chuck Langlois, 17252 Greenwell Springs Road, 70739.

1 Comment

  1. Wade Evans

    June 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Chuck is a fine man with values we need in this community

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