“He had about seven or eight [surgeries] before he left the hospital,” Helen Pennix said. “Because we couldn’t take him home, we would go back and forth to the hospital getting to know him. In the process, we fell in love with him. He caught onto my finger, and when he caught onto my finger with the three fingers he had on his hand, it just touched my heart. And from then on I could never let him go.”
In middle school, Charles used a walker and later transitioned to crutches. However, his condition later deteriorated, so he uses a powered wheelchair now.
Charles said his school didn't have elevators, which made it difficult for him to attend his classes.
Helen said, for years, she strived to get elevators installed in his elementary school. It was only after he transitioned to middle school that elevators were finally at his disposal.
Ann Peterson, Charles' god-aunt, said Helen and Charles have a close relationship.
“You never see one without the other,” Peterson said.
Despite his disabilities and 35 surgeries, Charles tries his hardest to live a normal life.
He taught himself how to play the drums, guitar and keyboard, all of which he plays at his church. He added that it was difficult to learn, since he lacks some fingers on both of his hands.
Charles said he is currently trying to gather donations in order to buy a wheelchair-accessible van. Even a used vehicle can be expensive, and while Charles has raised about $5,000, most of it has gone towards medical expenses.
“He could have a great future if he was able to drive and get around, take care of himself," Helen Pennix said. "He wouldn’t need anybody to take care of him. Right now, if I were to die, they would be in a perilous situation, he and the girls. I don’t know who would take care of them. But if the Lord would take me away, and he had a van (and) had a drivers license, they would miss me and they would cry and they would be upset. But they would be able to go on with their life because their father would be able to take care of them.”
To support Charles Pennix, visit his GoFundMe page.