FOX CITIES, Wis. (WFRV) – A community celebration to remember Charlie Knuth will take place on July 18 at Doyle Park in Little Chute.
“Trisha (Charlie’s mother) wants it to be called not a celebration of life, but one of community because the silver lining of his existence was that he brought the community together on so many occasions,” said Tara Stevenson who is a Knuth family friend. “Trisha and Kevin (his parents) want to do that one more time.”
Charlie Knuth passed away on May 26 at the age of 17. He had a rare condition called epidermolysis bullosa that caused his skin to blister easily and was diagnosed with cancer in 2019.
The night that Charlie passed his mother Trisha posted the following message on her Facebook page:
His story inspired thousands of people over the years.
“He was my special buddy for 17 years and he really took a piece of my heart with him,” said Patti Rodencal a family friend.
“I feel like he didn’t accept his circumstances, and what I mean by that is he didn’t let it defy him entirely,” said Kristi Hill another family friend. “He talked about his future goals.”
Rodencal, Stevenson, Hill and two other Knuth family friends (Sarah Micke and Nicole Schuh) are organizing the celebration of community for Charlie. They told Local Five News that Charlie’s parents want to use the event to say thank you to the community for all the support they have given their family.
Over the years, Northeast Wisconsin race car drivers raised over $60,000 for the Knuth family, the community helped them get back on their feet after their house caught on fire last summer, and a little girl gave her birthday money to Charlie so that he could buy a four-wheeler to ride around his neighborhood. This only scratches the surface of all the ways the community has supported the Knuth family over the years.
“I think when a child is suffering, I think it’s natural for us to want to do something to help,” said Rodencal.
The women have set up a GoFundMe fundraiser for Charlie’s community celebration that can be found here.
The organizers said that all the money raised will go towards a deejay, family-friendly games and entertainment, and food for the celebration. The Knuth family also hopes the event will give people an opportunity to share stories about Charlie and share the impact he’s made on their lives.
The event is open to the public.
“Tell stories or listen to stories, share how Charlie touched you, show what it meant to have Charlie in our community,” said Rodencal.