Winston-Salem residents rock to help a friend

January 22, 2014 by  

On Sunday, January 12, people gathered at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem to take part in an event called ‘Charlie’s Chariot’. They listened to music from six live bands, and participated in a raffle and a silent auction, with items supplied by local businesses.

It was inspired by Charlie Cook, who has been a fire eater, dancer, graphic designer, sculptor, painter, and freestyle rapper, among other skills. Everything changed for Cook in August 2012, however, when he was kayaking with friends and broke the C5 vertebrae in his back. Now aged 30, he is a quadriplegic who has been forced to learn an entirely new way of life.

The event that takes his name was organized by Elizabeth Nichols and Ashley Dillon, who had worked with Cook at an advertising agency. They described him as an outgoing, unique, spirited young man who is deeply involved in his community. When they learned about his struggles and his desire for a handicap-accessible vehicle that would help him regain some independence, they organized the event.

Cook was amazed by the outpouring of support, saying he’s just another person. He was left speechless by the generosity of friends and neighbors. Dillon and Nichols are leaving the website running so they can continue to receive donations. They are also considering additional events in future.

The pair could consider working with a postcard printing company to create a card for an area-wide mailing about the efforts to help Cook, particularly if and when further events are scheduled.