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 biggest thing people need to know is: Don’t give up. They have all kind of drugs out there now that can actually help you. Look to the Lord, because believe it or not, He will touch you. So just don’t give up. Just keep looking forward. It’s a scary thing & all, but like I say, I went to the Lord in prayer, & I tell everybody that He handled it. He healed it in that He has helped me to deal with it.

“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