Lester Dickard // husband to Linda // father of Jason & Angela Leigh // grandfather of 6 grandkids (ages 10-21 y/o) // Superintendent with Harper Corporation General Contractors, managing the CSP project // Easley native // fisherman & lover of family lake trips // lost to kidney cancer (diagnosed ‘12; left us July 15, 2018 at 66 y/o)
“The cancer had already encapsulated my left kidney, & I didn’t know it — everything was working fine, I thought. I didn’t feel bad. I just went for a physical, & my doctor felt something hard down there, so he sent me to get a scan. My kidney had already quit working. Cancer had covered my spleen & was touching my diaphragm.
“But I’ve continued to work the past 5 years I’ve been battling cancer, & that has really helped. I kept pushing myself to go. I worked every day. I thank God that I am still working, even through my different chemo treatments & pills. No matter how sick you get, try to keep going — but you can only push yourself so far. I work here about 10 hours a day, & sometimes I have to just sit down in the truck so I don’t get worn slam down. Do take a lot of breaks when you need to.
“Harper had asked me, ‘Would you be willing to do the CSP since you’ve had cancer?’ I said, ‘Sure. I would be glad to do it,’ & it’s been an experience. The Park is really coming together. It’s going to benefit a lot of people & be a really good thing when we get it through. I can see where it will help people if they can get out here, walk around & relax. They don’t have to focus on the cancer. They can focus on the right things.
“I think my favorite part is the children’s park; the turning point across the river, the lion for the kids…That’s what bothers me the most about cancer. When I go to have my infusions & all at the hospital, & I see the little kids that are suffering, I just want to grab them & hug them. I know pretty well what they are going through, & they haven’t even lived half their lives. It breaks your heart. I’m 66 years old, & I’ve lived lots of my life, so I’d rather it be me with cancer than a little kid.
“Dr. Stevenson said 3-4 years ago that I should’ve been dead…but we just keep going. Whenever that day does come, I feel like I am at peace, because the Lord has blessed me & kept me around this long.”
Photo by Jose Zurita. Interview by Emily Price