Cancer survivor sings for a cure in Eastern Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cancer survivor sings for a cure in Eastern Iowa

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KALONA (KWWL) -

Charlie Lustman has been singing as long as he can remember.

At 46 years old, Lustman's passion has become his message, singing, in spite of the fact that part of his jaw is missing.

"I had doctors that told me I wouldn't be able to talk. They didn't say anything about singing," inspirational singer, Lustman said.

Lustman was diagnosed five years ago with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

"They sawed off my jaw and they nuked me for a year with chemotherapy."

After surgery, Lustman was determined to keep singing and learned to do so with a replacement jaw.

"Cancer was not going to define my life. It was just going to be something I had to go through," he said.

Now he travels the country, spreading his message of hope, support, and empathy to those battling cancer.

Saturday morning, Lustman rode with 400 others, some of them cancer survivors in their own right, in the annual Courage Ride in Kalona.

The event was organized by Tom and Jackie Bailey, who's son Seth lost his long battle with sarcoma at just 25 years old.

"He always tried, and that's what we want people to remember," Jackie Bailey said.

For seven years now, the Bailey's have organized the bike ride through rural Washington and Johnson counties, with what they call a courage stop, at their son's grave site.

"Just to do something so that other people wouldn't have to go through what we went though and what Seth went through."

It is there where the Bailey's and Lustman came together in song, honoring Seth's life, inspired to move closer to finding a cure.

"Seth Bailey has inspired this entire community.  That's what he gave his life for," Lustman said.

This year's Courage Ride raised more than $30 thousand to go to the University of Iowa's Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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