Daniel Hinckley could have every excuse in the world to give up, if he wanted. That’s just not who he is. The 63-year-old Charlotte resident is a fighter, whose determination has become an inspiration to others looking to lead a healthier, more fulfilled life.
Dan’s impact is felt most at AL!VE, where by discovering his own inspiration, Dan has transformed himself into a healthier man following two battles with cancer and an ongoing struggle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Dan’s struggles, though, have been far more than physical. He lost his wife, Caroline to cancer in 2014. The two were avid walkers on EXPLORE, AL!VE’s walking path, prior to her illness. A former drinker, and smoker Dan and Caroline were taking steps toward healthier lives together.
Following her passing, Dan came the closest he would come to giving up.
“I was in a bad way before I started here,” he said.
First there was a prostate cancer diagnosis. Following successful surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, John Bartolacci, a friend who would become and inspiration to Dan, encouraged him to join MOVE at AL!VE. Shortly after, however, he discovered he had cancer in his larynx.
“That was rough,” he said. “I thought, ‘man, I’m going to die,’ But, I looked at John, and I thought, ‘man he’s been through a lot, and he is still going.’ He’s battled so many kinds of cancer, and he never gives up. That’s the kind of attitude I want.”
He’s been working out ever since.
“Coming here has made a big difference in my life,” Dan said. “I recommend anyone who has a health issue, this place is the answer.”
Working out is making his life healthier, and the friendships he’s built with staff and fellow AL!VE members has helped him feel more fulfilled.
“I’ve got friends all over this place,” he said. “There are days when I can’t wait to get here, because this is all I have to do.”
Dan said he often sees others struggling with their health, and hopes to be someone they can turn to for advice. He said he doesn’t judge anyone for their choices in life, though he said he also doesn’t shy away from giving helpful health advice.
You’ll find him most mornings, walking on the treadmill in BRIDGE, determined to keep his health in check.
He is currently cancer free, and returns to the doctor for another scan in June.
“I don’t give up,” he said. “My job ain’t done here. I’ll be here until I can’t walk anymore.”