The Spotlight: man severely burned fights to live for his son

The Spotlight: man severely burned fights to live for his son
(Source: KSLA News 12)

HAUGHTON, LA (KSLA) - A former Huntington basketball player who was severely burned in a bonfire fights not only for his life but his son's.

Charles Dittler, also known as Duwop grew up bouncing from home to home. He found peace on the basketball court and never wanted to make excuses for the losses he took along the way.

"I've slept on the street as a kid. My dad left when I was 8 or 9 years old, he was on drugs. My moms was on drugs and when my dad left she got strung out even more," said Charles "Duwop" Dittler.

Duwop found peace on the basketball court in gym's all around the Shreveport Bossier area.

"I was blessed to be in two foster homes where they took me in as their own," said Charles "Duwop" Dittler. "When I look at my son, not from a negative stand point but a positive stand point, I can't do nothing but smile because I realize that he won't have to go through that.

His faith would be put to the ultimate test as he was burned in a bonfire accident earlier this year.

" I remember jumping on the ground screaming and yelling for help and I was like in a daze and sick for weeks and I didn't want to talk to anybody. I was just sick and soaking it all in," said Charles "Duwop" Dittler.

Earlier this year he was severely burned in a bonfire accident. All he could think about in the recovery room was his son Chance.

"It's like when you have a little one, you have to keep going and you have to keep pushing forward so that was just a part of my motivation," said Charles "Duwop" Dittler.

Instead of feeling down and discouraged he sees it as a blessing and an opportunity to inspire others.

"All I could think about was that I can't hide what God has done, I can't hide this, I have to let the world know that this is what he is capable of, I was talking to my girlfriend and one day I got out of the shower and I was looking at these scars and I started breaking down crying and I realized that this was a blessing and these scars are like medals because I had a fight with the devil but God was in my corner and you know how that's going to end," said Charles "Duwop" Dittler.

Duwop has a gofundme page set up but he was more concerned about raising money for Camp I'm still Me. It's a Camp that where other burn survivor's have been meeting for over 25 years. It's a 7 day retreat away from judgment and full of acceptance.

"It's says it in the name of the camp, I'm still me, and these children have burn scars and as you well know this world can be cruel sometimes to people with disabilities and disfigurements. This is a camp that they can come and not worry about their scars. They don't have to worry about how they look because they are surrounded by campers and camp leaders that have been through similiar situations. They can feel comfortable knowing that they are still themselves and that they are great people." said camp counselor Ms. Terrier Sullivan.

Antonie Morrow has been coming to the camp for close to 20 years and now he's a camp leader.

"Even though your outside is different you are still the same on the inside, on the first day you will meet a stranger and as the week moves on you realize they are like family and when that last day comes it's hard to say goodbye," said Antonie Morrow.

It's a bittersweet, I'll see you later because the survivors appreciate time. That's why Duwop has devoted his time to his son Chance.

"That's why I when I look at him and all of the stuff that I've seen throughout my life, I tell myself that there ain't no giving up," said Charles Duwop Dittler. "So I tell my friends to post my pictures because I want people to know how blessed I am, It's not a pity party, I want people to know how serious this is and how I'm not going to let it keep me down."

"My friends started calling my Wop Don't Stop because I  used to always act a clown and always joking, like man he keeps something going he don't stop," said Charles "Duwop" Dittler. Now that this has happened that nickname couldn't be more fitting than right now. It's like being in an arena and everybody is on their feet chanting Wop Don't Stop, Wop Don't Stop, Wop Don't Stop."

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