Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rainy day, sunny spirit

Charlee Hawkins of Gilbert, Arizona, continued to play golf and piano despite the amputation of her left index finger and part of her palm. She defied epithelioid sarcoma with laughter, bravery and grace until she died three years ago at the age of 17.

This January 21, 2008 story from the East Valley Tribune sketches her resilience and sense of humor:

Despite her missing finger, Charlee never hid her hand. She relearned how to play the piano with nine fingers.

When Charlee first found her bump, she named it "Humpy Humperson." After her finger was amputated, she changed that to "Stumpy Stumperson."

Her friends nicknamed her "Nine" after the amputation. To show support, her family and friends wore shirts with the outline of two hands, with the left hand missing the index finger.

On Jan. 21, 2004, Charlee celebrated her first "handiversary." It had been a year since she lost her finger.

Her family made hand sugar cookies, and Charlee was the "doctor" who cut off the index finger of each cookie.

"For her it was very appropriate," Char Hawkins said.

Her family has continued the tradition. Monday marked five years since Charlee's amputation.

Friday will mark three years since Charlee's death.

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