URBANA, Ill (WCIA) — Inside the lobby at Carle’s Cancer Institute in Urbana sits a man who continues to defy the odds, while bringing joy to anyone who walks by.
For Charles Belanger, every key stroke comes with a comforting sound.
“I started playing here about two months ago or so, and I have been playing here once a week ever since,” Belanger said.
Belanger volunteers at Carle’s Cancer Institute nearly every Friday morning at 9 a.m., sharing his positive tune to people dealing with serious medical issues.
“I started playing piano when I was 5 years old and I stopped playing in lessons when I was going into high school,” Belanger added. “But I never stopped playing the piano.”
For Belanger and his wife Tammy, continuing to play has been nothing short of a miracle.
“The first diagnosed stroke was at 52, and then the one that really took me out for a while was when I was 57,” Belanger explained. “That was five-plus years ago.”
The strokes took away his ability to use one of his hands, but not his talent on the piano.
“Pretty major. They kind of even prepared me that he might not pull through,” Tammy said. “They talked at one time that if the swelling got bigger, they might have to take the top of his skull off. And luckily, thank God, they did not have to do that. I think he’s done a lot more than anybody ever thought he would do.”
“I’ve always said that I was either going to completely give up, or what was more likely was I’d just never stop,” Belanger added. “So that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”
He has no plans of changing his tune.
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