To The Maryland Nation:
My name is Dave Pacella. I played offensive line at Maryland from 1978 to 1982. The reason I’m writing this is to give everyone more insight into the efforts to help Charlie Wysocki. Charlie was my teammate and friend when we played at Maryland.
As many of you already know he was a great running back while at Maryland and still holds several records to this day. Unfortunately, after Charlie left Maryland and immediately after his tryout with the Dallas Cowboys, he was diagnosed with one of the most severe cases of bipolar disorder that his doctor has ever seen. He has been in and out of state mental hospitals for over 25 years. At that time most of his former teammates and friends had no idea what was going on in his life. I have come to find out efforts were made to suppress what was really happening in Charlie’s life and he just dropped out of sight.
Four years ago I reconnected with Charlie after not having any contact with him for 26 years. He was living in a personal care facility in Plymouth, PA not far from his hometown. When I first saw Charlie he looked terrible and was heavily medicated. His living conditions were horrible. Trust me, none of us would want anyone we cared about to be living in an environment like that. It broke my heart to see him that way.
The main reason Charlie has struggled to stay healthy is because he has had no family or support system that could make sure he was compliant with his prescribed therapy. At times there were different caseworkers or people that helped, but there was a lack of consistency with his care causing him to be unstable.
With the help of a better support system and Emma, his “significant other”, Charlie is stable and doing well. Emma makes sure he is compliant with his therapies and manages his medications. He has lost over 100 pounds in the last four years and has not been hospitalized in the last 2. In my opinion all Charlie needed was the right help. That help should have come from a stable family environment but for whatever reason it didn’t.
Charlie has overcome tremendous adversity and is finally living somewhat of a stable life. We want to make sure Charlie continues to do well and stay healthy. He lives a very humble existence at or below the poverty level. He still has many unmet basic needs. For that reason Dr. Mark Sobel (82), Dave Daddio (84) and myself have formed the Charlie Wysocki Benefit Fund for the sole purpose to provide for those unmet basic needs as best we can. The fund will be set up as a Deed of Trust in the state of Pennsylvania with a corresponding bank account. All proceeds will go directly to help with Charlie’s unmet basic needs under the supervision of the board of trustee’s.
We have been assessing Charlie’s needs and one of the obvious needs is his teeth. He doesn’t have any! All of his teeth were pulled during one of his hospitalizations. Dr. Sobel arranged for Charlie to be seen by an oral surgeon for a consultation to assess what would be the best option for replacing Charlie’s teeth. After the consultation the oral surgeon concluded that implants would be the best option for Charlie. Dr. Sobel has arranged with the doctors involved to volunteer their time, but there are still significant costs associated with the implants. Our goal is to raise $20,000. Any moneys collected in excess of the cost of the implants, if any, will be used to provide other unmet basic needs for Charlie as deemed appropriate by the board of trustee’s.
This past fall, Charlie and I were invited back to Maryland to be Honorary Captains for the Homecoming game against N.C. State. This was the first time Charlie was back on campus in 25 years. He was able to meet up with many former teammates and friends who learned for the first time what he has been going through. This reconnection and encouragement from his former teammates and friends over the past months has had a tremendous positive impact on Charlie’s mental health. Don’t under estimate the power of the Maryland Nation! Many of you asked how you could help. The Charlie Wysocki Benefit Fund is answer
Lastly, there has been a book written about Charlie’s life called “Saddle Up Charlie”. The author is C.T. Walters. Charlie’s story is very compelling and I think you would enjoy the read. It’s available on Amazon.com and the C.T. Walter’s website. http://ctwalters.com/PurchaseSaddleUpCharlie.aspx
Here is the link for Maryland Football Honors Charlie Wysocki http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p7TI3THg_o
If you would like to make a contribution you can send a donation to:
The Charlie Wysocki Benefit Fund
c/o Dave Pacella
4159 Hill Terrace Drive
Sinking Spring, PA 19608
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