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Spring 2003 - Touching

Destination Purdue > Spring 2003 - Touching

Touching lives around the world

By Joy Deatsman

From running a clinic for injured animals as a young boy, to traveling to impoverished countries around the world, Dr. Chuck Dietzen has improved the quality of life for many.

Chuck Dietzen at hospital

Photo provided by Chuck Dietzen

Chuck Dietzen visits children in a hospital in India after meeting with Mother Teresa.

Growing up, Dietzen knew he was going to be a veterinarian; he also knew he would attend Purdue University to earn his degree. What he didn't know is the experiences he would have would change his lifelong dream.

Dietzen studied animal sciences at Purdue, which led him toward his veterinary science degree. He was amazed with the great opportunities Purdue provided him. Dietzen was on the Rugby team, a counselor at Cary Quadrangle residence hall and formed relationships with professors and staff. "I found mentors for life at Purdue," Dietzen said.

After obtaining his undergraduate degree in just three years and earning a master's degree in genetics, he changed his career path. Growing up in a family that hosted over 150 foster children, Dietzen developed a way with children. This inspired his career change. Dietzen studied two more years at Purdue and finished his medical degree at Ball Memorial Hospital.

After practicing two and a half years in the medical field in Kentucky, Dietzen felt he had fallen into a rut. He was working long hours and losing his focus. Then out of the blue, he was offered a position to tour as a professional wrestler. He played the role of "Dr. Doom," giving him time to take a step back and collect his thoughts.

In January 1994, Dietzen was offered a job at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. "Don't settle for a job, find your mission," Dietzen said. Finally, he had found his mission and focus in improving the quality of life.

Dietzen still practices medicine at the hospital where he was the medical director of the children's specialty hospital. He works with kids that are disabled from accidents or are born with disabilities. He not only tries to improve their lives through medicine but also by teaching the kids that they are capable of achieving great things.

Dietzen practices what he preaches and has had many great accomplishments over the years. While honors and awards make him credible, it's not what he works for. Dietzen is motivated by faith and lives by a quote of Mother Teresa: "It is not my job to be successful. It is my job to be faithful."

Dietzen also started the Timmy Foundation. Named for his oldest brother who died as an infant, the foundation collects clothes, shoes, books, computers, medicine, medical equipment and other resources that are distributed all over the world to improve children's lives. Dietzen has touched many children's lives in such countries as Ecuador, Haiti, Cuba and Macedonia.

Dietzen also is involved in a camp where they teach children that even those with disabilities have few limitations. At Children Have A lot of Motivation & Potential (CHAMP) camp, Dietzen takes the wrestling role of Dr. Doom again entertaining ill and disabled children. Dietzen has become the hero and saint of many children by improving lives and providing hope; however, he said, "they are my heroes."