Local News

Inmate offers to help judge battling cancer

Posted September 2, 2015 6:15 p.m. EDT
Updated September 2, 2015 7:13 p.m. EDT

— Thousands of people have registered to be bone marrow donors to help Superior Court Judge Carl Fox, who is battling blood cancer. He hasn’t found a match yet but said he did receive an offer of help from an unlikely source – a man he helped put in jail.

Fox received a letter in July from Charles Alston, an inmate at Franklin Correctional Center in Bunn who is serving about a 25-year sentence for armed robbery.

“You were the District Attorney during the course of my trial,” Alston wrote. “There is no hatred or animosity in my heart towards you … I know you are in need of a matching donor for bone marrow. I may or may not be a match, but would have been willing to make the sacrifice if needed.”

Alston, 62, said he believes Fox, 61, may have saved his life by putting him in jail, so he wants to help save the judge’s life.

“I had a lot of hate for Mr. Fox because he sentenced me to so much time, but I come to church a lot, I found God. So, I thought maybe if I could do something for someone else, I'd do it,” Alston said.

Inmates can’t be on the registry due to the risk of infectious diseases, but the gesture meant a lot to Fox, who has been trying to raise awareness about the need for donors.

“I was very touched by it … totally surprised. I never thought Charles Alston would’ve written me and offered me the right hand of fellowship and offer to do something to save my life,” Fox said. “He had every reason to be angry with me, given where he is and the sentence he was given. It means even that much more he did that given the circumstances.”

Although he can’t be a donor, Alston said he hopes to meet Fox again someday. “I’d pray with him. That’s what I would love to do."

If you are interested in being a bone marrow donor, you can register online at DeleteBloodCancer.org or at several upcoming events:

  • Sept. 5-6: African American Cultural Festival on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh
  • Sept. 11: UNC Memorial Hospital on Manning Drive from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sept 11: UNC Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center at 410 Market St., Suite 400, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sept. 11: UNC Therapeutic Infusion Center, 6013 Farrington Road, Chapel Hill, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sept. 11: UNC Healthcare - Hillsborough Hospital, 430 Waterstone Drive, Hillsborough, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sept. 19: Crabtree Valley Mall, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.