by Terry Rogers
Charles Luthor “Chuck” Campbell, Sr., whose friends and coworkers organized a massive fund raising campaign to pay for a double lung transplant seven years ago, passed away on Monday, May 14, 2018. His family said that Campbell was a “fighter to the end,” but that his body had eventually rejected the lungs he received in March 2011.
Double lung transplants are extremely rare and can cost as much as $1 million which was not covered by insurance. Campbell and a coworker, Chuck Hagel, started a fundraising campaign called “New Lungs for Chuck,” auctioning off a Florida condominium and an expensive car in an effort to raise enough money for Campbell to receive the transplant. Campbell, who served in the Marine Corps, was an ex-smoker and diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in 2005. As the disease progressed, he needed constant oxygen and inhalers just to perform routine daily duties.
The auction, along with an anonymous $200,000 donation, raised enough money for the transplant and Campbell was placed on a waiting list, receiving the double lung transplant at Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia in March 2011. On March 5, 2018, Campbell posted on his Facebook page.
“Pretty much exactly seven years ago, to the minute, that I received the life-saving phone call from Inova Hospital in Fairfax that I was a match for a lung donor, and that I should come to the hospital. So, after getting a speeding ticket on the way, receiving two new lungs, and 8 weeks of recovery in the hospital, I was discharged and my second chance at life began. Since then, life has been good and bad, but that’s the way life is for all of us. At least I was alive to experience it all. On this special day, I want to thank everyone who helped me through those very difficult years and those who have helped me since. I also send my heartfelt love to the family of Jami Interiano, my donor. Jami was taken from his family way too soon and he is deeply missed. But, through Jami’s gifts of life, four people were saved, and many lives were touched by this brave young man. So, thank you very much to everyone who had anything at all to do with this entire event and please know that I will be forever grateful.”
Campbell was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1964, living in seven other states and one other country during his lifetime. He was a champion speed-skater in high school and entered the Marines after graduation. While in the Marines, Campbell developed a deep love for his country and unbridled patriotism he carried with him throughout his life. He worked in automobile sales and was employed with Pohanka of Salisbury at the time of his transplant.
“I met Chuck when I was very new in the car business at Pohanka Toyota,” Michael Barnes posted on Campbell’s Facebook page. “Everyday was a new experience and Chuck always took the younger group under his wing, determined to turn them into car people. I’ve been fortunate to have had many good mentors in my career, however, Chuck was my first and molded most of my early success as a sales consultant and finance manager. He challenged you daily, praised you when you succeeded and always had a great sense of humor. I can only hope I can be the same type of mentor for the young generation looking to make a career out of the car business.”
When Campbell wasn’t working, he spent time on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, cooking Mexican food and making margaritas for his friends and family. He was an avid Washington Redskins fan, cheering them both at home and in the stands. He also practiced his photography skills and adored the many pets he owned.
Campbell was preceded in death by his father, Jan Campbell. He is survived by his mother and step-father, Mary and Don MacKinnon; his son and daughter-in-law, Charles Luthor “Chuckie” and Aubrey Campbell; son Donald “Donny” Campbell; daughter, Bethany Campbell, along with her boyfriend, Billy Adams; daughter Jenna Campbell; granddaughter, Rilyn; step-sister, Christine MacKinnon, step-brother, Richard MacKinnon, as well as his wife, Rhonda, children Sharon and Robyn.
“Chuck’s family would like to deeply thank Jami Interiano’s family for making the generous decision to donate Jami’s organs and gifting Chuck with the last seven years of his life. They would also like to thank Pohanka of Salisbury and Bonnie Hunt as well as anyone and everyone else that had a part in raising money for his lung transplant or praying for him through that time.” A memorial service for Campbell was held Friday, May 18 at 7:30 PM at the Holloway Funeral Home.
The family requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to It’s All Good in Delaware, Inc., PO Box 493, Camden, DE 19934.
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