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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: There will be a benefit concert for Beth Walker, who is battling lung cancer

  • Who says that young love can’t last?



    Charlton Walker, son of the late Rev. Carl Walker and his wife, Eunice Walker, met the love of his life when he was 12 at church camp. Obviously they had to wait a few years to get married and they’ve been happily together since then.



    Now cancer is trying to separate them.

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  • Who says that young love can’t last?
    Charlton Walker, son of the late Rev. Carl Walker and his wife, Eunice Walker, met the love of his life when he was 12 at church camp. Obviously they had to wait a few years to get married and they’ve been happily together since then.
    Now cancer is trying to separate them.
    “My wife Beth was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer (non-smoking) in March of 2012,” Walker said. “She had already been fighting systemic lupus erythematosus for more than 10 years.”
    The medical community gave them little hope.
    “The first doctor we saw we wanted to call ‘Dr. Shovel’ because we thought all we could do was dig a big hole,” Walker said. “We haven’t seen him since.”
    He began posting updates on her condition on  Facebook, and shortly after that began hearing from old Pittsburg/Frontenac friends, including former band mates.
    “Our band, Mantra, was formed around 1979 and we played all over southeast Kansas,” Walker said. “I graduated in 1981 and soon after left Pittsburg to marry Beth. I think Mantra went on for 16 or 17 years.”
    He began communicating with Jamie Ortolani and some of the other band members.
    “Jamie had a friend he’d worked with named Mark  Lockhart, who’s president of Musicians for Miracles,” Walker said. “Long story short, Musicians for Miracles is organizing a benefit for Beth from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Moorman’s Southside. There will be several bands playing, then Mantra will play. It’s a 30-year reunion for Mantra.”
    Other bands signed up include Frankie the Thumper, Knight and Daze, the Tailgatorz, Six Guns South, Mister X, Vizion and Aziz. There will be raffles all day and a silent auction.
    Walker will be in Pittsburg, but his wife, who is on chemotherapy, will be unable to attend.
    “Maybe if you could put me in a bubble I could be there, but I just can’t be in a large group of people,” Mrs. Walker said in a telephone interview from her home in Eudora. “If I caught a cold it could kill me.”
    She explained that the chemo severely impacts her blood, including levels of disease-fighting white cells.
    “At one point my blood levels were inconsistent with maintaining life,” Mrs. Walker said. “They’ve gone up, and now they are consistent with life.”
    In spite of everything, she remains upbeat, buoyed by the strong Christian faith she shares with her husband.
    “I’ve openly told my doctors, when they marvel at my good attitude, that this is about Jesus, and knowing his power and that he will heal me,” Mrs. Walker said. “And I listen to the Holy Spirit.”
    Page 2 of 2 - That does not mean that she dismisses modern medicine.
    “I would never say that I don’t need chemo,” she said. “I listen to my doctors and their facts, and then I run to the truth.”
    Mrs. Walker said she had been blown away by all the work people have been doing for the benefit concert and by the huge outpouring of love and prayers she had received over the Internet.
    That includes people she’s never met, such as actress Mo Collins of “Parks and Recreation.”
    “Mo sent for the silent auction a painting that she did for me, and a copy of a personal ‘Mad TV’ script with her notes on it,” Mrs. Walker said. “Cancer is a leveler, it makes us all the same. The bigger word is Jesus.”
    Her husband is in awe of his wife.
    “While we lived in Minnesota, she worked for an electrical power company as a meter reader, their first female meter reader in the state,” Walker said. “She walked nearly 20 miles a day, in rain, snow, sleet or hail. She wakes up every morning with bluebirds around her bed like Snow White.”
    The couple has three grown children and three grandchildren.
    “Other people have grandchildren, but I have the grandest children,” Mrs. Walker said, adding that she plans to teach them about Jesus.
    She was thrilled recently to learn that another grandchild is on the way.
    “My daughter, who is my best friend, is having a baby,” Mrs. Walker said. “There are 365 days in the year, but this baby is due on Aug. 24, my birthday. Instead of making me feel older, this makes me feel younger. The Lord has use for me still.”
    The couple hopes that people will come out to the benefit concert on Sunday, and also keep the prayers coming from around the world.
    “The prayers are physically felt here, on the front lines,” Walker said. “This is evidence that when  you pray, it is effective. You are being used by Goad, making a difference  in our lives, changing the outcome of a death sentence to a life sentence.”

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