If you would like to have your loved one added to our memory page or to honor a survivor, please contact us at 262.305.1370 or send us mail at: Ann’s Hope Foundation
P.O. Box 376
Hartland WI 53029.
He was known as Chuck by his loved ones and many friends, as Dad by his seven kids, as Grandpa by his 12 grandchildren, and Mr. Hudson by his thousands of students.
Chuck’s priorities in life were God, family and education. He was a Christian his whole life and even saw glimpses of Heaven in his last few days. Our blended family of six kids under nine years old was similar to the Brady Bunch and we were referred to as the Hudson Bunch many times. We never referred to our children as stepchildren. They were never yours or mine, but always our children. He always felt honored to be the father of seven great kids. He instilled in them that when they graduated from high school they would go to and graduate from college. It was never a question of if. Education was important at home as well as his workplace. He taught History and Physical Education, was Head of the Physical Education Department at Germantown High School, and was there for 38 years.
Family, special friends, and even his students truly enjoyed his wonderful sense of humor. He was a great Badger and Packer fan.
His battle began with a melanoma spot with clear margins removed from his back in 2002. In the fall of 2008, he discovered a lump in his lower abdomen, which was removed and was also melanoma. The doctors never found the source of his melanoma. He vowed to fight hard and fight he did. Further surgery removed infected lymph nodes and he had oral and IV chemotherapy. They both worked at first, but his body got used to them and the melanoma progressed while still staying in the lymphatic system. His white blood count was affected and the melanoma traveled to his hip bone, bone marrow and into his blood stream. None of his organs were affected, but once in the blood, we knew his time was short and it was time for final goodbyes. He lost his fight and found peace in Heaven on April 9, 2010.
The kids had planned a 70th birthday party for him on May 17, 2010. Our daughter discovered Ann’s Hope Run and Walk was on that same date. We all had the date reserved and it became a perfect way to honor Chuck and our yearly tradition began. Each year we were there – even in 50 degree, rainy weather. This year is the 5th anniversary of his death and Ann’s Hope Run and Walk is on the exact same day as it was in 2010. It is an honor for the whole family that Chuck is one of the memorials for this year’s Ann’s Hope Run and Walk.
We hope for more awareness of this disease and we pray for a cure in the near future. We cherish our memories of him and know he would be proud that “Team Hudson” is still fighting the fight.
Brett was 39 years old, two months shy of his 40th birthday, when he lost his battle with melanoma. He was the type of guy that was everyone’s friend. He had a way of making anyone smile and laugh…his smile was just contagious! Everyone could see that his two children, Emily and William, were the joys of his life and what a wonderful father he was to them. He showed them the importance of family and family traditions.
He loved all things NASCAR (Dale Jr. fan), watching cooking shows, cooking Mexican food, golf, Bears, Black Hawks, Bulls, White Sox, Las Vegas, boating, Gummi Bears and Swedish Fish candies, his mom’s famous shrimp dip and hearing someone order or drinking a Bud Light! He worked as a beer salesman for Budweiser and was true to the brand. He would be especially proud of Emily for coining our team name “Brett’s Buds!”
Brett’s battle was one that came on very unexpectedly and with intensity. It started around March, 2013, with a back pain that wouldn’t subside and nothing seemed to help, not even the strongest pain killers. Lots of testing and seeing various doctors finally led to the worst diagnosis anyone could have ever thought of….stage 4 melanoma. It was determined that the cause of his severe back pain was actually lesions along his spinal column that had collapsed four vertebrae, including a vertebrae at the base of his neck. Because of the locations of these lesions, Brett was transported to the University of Chicago Hospital via ambulance. He was bed ridden, as one wrong move could’ve resulted in paralysis. At the University of Chicago Hospital, Brett’s treatment plan included both radiation and receiving the newer FDA approved drug, Zelboraf, which targets metastatic inoperable melanoma and a specific genetic mutation in the BRAF V600 gene. It was discovered through testing that Brett had this mutation.
Over the course of the next few months, Brett experienced many ups and downs. He remained bed ridden for the majority of the time after the diagnosis. He lost weight rapidly, had complications with blood clots and required blood transfusions due to low hemoglobin counts. Family and friends would bring him whatever he was craving just so he would eat. His mom, Cathy, frequently brought him any favorites he requested. Emily and William brought his favorite pizza from Anastasia’s, and hot dogs from his favorite fast-food place, “Pops,”never forgetting those extra, extra fries that Brett loved so much!
It was determined that Brett’s melanoma likely had started with a mole on his chest that he had removed in 2009. Even though it was removed, along with lymph nodes that it was traced to, and doctors thought they got it all. It is believed that the melanoma had spread before the mole was removed. Further testament to the fact that moles need to be checked for any changes without hesitation!
As the days and weeks went by, it was Brett’s positive attitude, continuing strength and determination, wonderful sense of humor, his love and smiles that gave us all hope for his future and that he would beat this aggressive cancer. We always will be so extremely proud of the courage he had through his illness. He never ever complained or indulged in self-pity. He was so appreciative for the friends and family who visited and the medical team and doctors who were treating him. He was a remarkable and positive individual to everyone who knew him and an inspiration to all!
Brett passed away peacefully in the ICU at the University of Chicago Hospital on Sunday, October 6, 2013, at 1:45 p.m. He was surrounded by his two children, his parents, family members and close friends. He was taken from us too soon and so young, but left us with endless special memories to always cherish. Brett’s life made such an unforgettable difference in this world and he will always be in our hearts!
Having lost both of his parents to cancer in the late 1960s, Charlie was more aware than most of the challenges associated with the diagnosis of cancer. His parents had instilled in him that one’s attitude was vital and that feeling sorry for yourself only drained your strength. This lesson was one he would put to good use throughout his life.
Raising and training harness horses meant Charlie spent the majority of his days outside. A shared love of harness horse racing played a role in bringing him together with his wife, Judith. They married in 1966 and had four children. Summers were spent racing at county fairs. Family trips to Chicago to visit Charlie’s only sibling, Elaine, were also a chance for the whole family to attend the horse races at the professional tracks.
Charlie was always an early riser. Most mornings would find him having a cup of coffee at a local restaurant where he could visit with locals and those just passing through. You were never a stranger for long when he was around!
In 1984, Charlie had a spot on his face removed which was determined to be an actinic keratosis. As a registered nurse, Judith began documenting his medical visits and assisted Charlie in taking a proactive role in his healthcare. Charlie had a mole removed from the back of his arm in 1989. Melanoma had now become part of our lives. There was little time to absorb this diagnosis before Charlie would be hospitalized for a month with endocarditis.
Over the next handful of years, Charlie and his doctors were vigilant in monitoring his health. It was only a reprieve. In 1994, Charlie was hospitalized at the UW Hospital to have a heart valve replaced. He had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from an eyelid that same year. The next year, doctors removed a basal cell carcinoma and an actinic keratosis lentigo. Now that Charlie’s metal heart valve required him to take daily blood thinners, each biopsy/surgery held the potential threat of a stroke or bleeding to death.
In 1996, at the age of 66, Charlie received the diagnosis of metastatic malignant melanoma in the intestine. Following surgery to remove a portion of his intestine, he had an embolic stroke. While he suffered no major lasting physical effects from the stroke, Charlie was required to take daily anti-stroke medications which affected his balance and left him somewhat unstable on his feet
Within a year, Charlie lost his beloved wife of 31 years to heart failure. In 2001, his sister Elaine developed bone marrow cancer and died within six months of receiving the diagnosis. While both women had been very “hands on” in caring for Charlie through his numerous health issues, he outlived them both.
We were very fortunate to have Charlie live to see all eight of his grandchildren. He was there to rock them when they came home from the hospital. He was a lap for them to climb upon as toddlers. Charlie was an involved, loving father and grandfather. He never missed an opportunity to spend time with his family. Charlie phoned every Saturday morning to get updated on the grandchildren’s latest accomplishments. On Saturday May 28th, 2011, those calls went unmade…Charlie had died in his sleep from a ruptured aorta. He was 80 years old.
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