Chuck Janke had been down many roads....three-sport athlete with honors in high school, scholarship basketball player with double major in college, volunteer for our country in Desert Storm, fourth grade teacher for the Defense Department in Japan. Between his busy educational and career paths, Chuck always found time to make a difference. He coached youth basketball, raised money for an orphanage, and handled all the bookkeeping for his church.
In 2002, he, his wife Tomoko and their son Christopher (then 3-years-old) began a journey that required all that he had gathered along the way -- the strength of an athlete, the wisdom of a scholar, the determination of a soldier, the patience of a teacher, and the generous help that he had always given to be returned. The Betterment Foundation network joined together in March of 2003 to help return Chuck’s generosity by assisting him in battling the rapid, deteriorating effects of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
At the St. Patrick’s Day event, a letter from Chuck’s brother, Michael, was read because Chuck had become too weak to join in the festivities. It included these inspirational words to all of us....
“To say that Chuck’s struggle with this disease is hard would only minimize the true impact it has made on him and our family. But, every so often, a bright day comes around, and this is one of them. The utter joy and hope that you have brought into our lives from your selfless donations and efforts cannot be adequately described in words.”
Unfortunately, we were saddened to hear that Chuck passed away on August 4, 2003. According to Chuck’s mom Bernice, Betterment’s financial help for Chuck continues to touch lives because it enabled him to undergo experimental treatments to help others understand this disease. “His life, your gift...they are gifts that keep on giving.”
“It gave them hope when there was no other place to look.” ~Bernice Janke, Chuck’s mom