My Story is about William (Charlie) Ridgeway
This event took place from 06/26/2022 to
Very recently this family’s life has been turned upside down. While on summer vacation, I started to have stomach pain and nausea. I tried over the counter meds, and it did not seem to help. Eventually on June 26, 2022, after returning home, my wife convinced me to go to the ER thinking it was my appendix or gallbladder. Little did I know it was much worse. That night they ran a CT scan and noticed a mass on my pancreas. MRIs, bloodwork, and scopes the next two weeks led to the most devastating news one could ever imagine. On July 13, 2022, I was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer! I went from thinking I needed my gallbladder out to you are most likely going to die within the next 3 years. As you know pancreatic cancer is a very dangerous cancer and has a very low survival rate. I just completed my first 6 rounds of chemotherapy and received even more devastating news. The newest CT shows that my cancer is spreading, and the first chemotherapy is not working like they hoped. I start 10/12/2022 on another round of 6 with a different type of chemotherapy. I have lost over 60 pounds since this past June. If this next chemo does not work, my oncologist says that we are limited on treatments and time wise we are looking at less than a year.
This is My Story
Hi, my name is Charlie (William Ridgeway). I am a paraprofessional/bus driver in Aiken County, South Carolina. I work for LBC (Langley, Bath, Clearwater) middle school where I run the ISS (In school suspension) room and drive school bus for them and the High school my wife works at. I have been married to my wife, Heather, who is a SPED (Special Education) teacher at Midland Valley High School, for 23 years and we have a 23-year-old son, Joeseph Ridgeway, who is a special needs paraprofessional at the same middle school as me and he coaches football there also.
As you can see, myself and my family are committed to the special needs students and seeing them grow. We all do our best to show unconditional love to the students and support the parents and staff of the Valley. I try my best to be a mentor, a giant teddy bear with a firm hand and a loving heart. I love my students, my son has the patients of Midas when it comes to moderate to sever special needs, and if you could only see my wife teach, Heather has a way with her autistic and other special needs students that can hardly read to read, write, and become productive members of society when others have given up on them.
I wanted to share a little background, so you know who we are. God called us into service. Most of my life I have worked 3 jobs from truck driving, bus driving, to inbound telemarketing. I did that so my wife could get her teaching degree, master’s degree, and be a stay-at-home mom when Joe was younger. For a little while we even fostered children. No matter if we were team parents on the football field or the support staff that could get the behavioral child down from the fence they were climbing, we have always been a family of 3 that serve the special needs students around us. Then just as we were seeing a future of travel and stablity moving into midlife, out of the blue, like a theif in a night my world has dramaticly changed. My friends have set up a support page on Facebook “Ridgeway Warriors” This is a great platform to keep updates and gain support. Thanks to the support of my family, friends, and “The Valley” in Aiken SC, I will continue to fight, til I can’t.
The Impact of Time
My family and my students in the Valley are my whole world and although I am a man of faith and know there is a paradise waiting for me, I am in no rush to go. I want to fight and be here making memories as long as I can. My health is declining. I work as much as my body lets me so that I can show my students what never giving up is all about! I pray that God creates a miracle so I can stay for years, but I also know the statistics. I want to share memories and leave a legacy of unconditional love to the students I have touched. Last, when the end gets rough and I don’t have the fight in me anymore, I want to close my eyes and remember those moments as I leave this Earth and join my heavenly Father.