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In Memoriam: Cheryl Stark

Cheryl Lynn Stark, 52, of Lawrenceville passed away on Thursday, July 21, 2011. Please help us raise funds for the Stark family.

Please note donations are NOT tax deductible.
If you prefer to donate by cash or check, please make it out to the “Stark Family” and send it to the following address:
The Stark Family c/o The Bert Show
780 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Fifth Floor
Atlanta, GA 30342

Check out Bert’s appearance on HLN
Coverage from CNN

Coverage from 11 Alive News
Coverage from the AJC
Coverage from The Gwinnett Post

In 2009, Bert’s Big Adventure chose the Starks to go to Walt Disney World with us. Their family was easy to choose as the Starks had adopted and were raising six special needs children. It was the biggest family that had ever joined us in Orlando.


Will and Cheryl Stark were married for 34 years. They adopted and have been raising six special needs children for twenty years. They are a selfless family. Years ago when I asked him why six special needs children he humbly said, “Cheryl and I just felt it was our calling. It’s never been a hassle. It’s never been troublesome. This is our family. We love them all. And this is our calling.”



The Starks on The Bert Show:

HLN Has Bert On To Cover The Starks Surprise Reveal


11 Alive’s coverage of the Big Reveal

Two weeks ago, Cheryl passed away from a sudden stroke. These are parts of his emails after she passed:

“My wife Cheryl has passed away from a stroke today. I would explain more but I can’t stop crying……I am heading back home and Cheryl will follow soon. Thank you to all who were and still are praying for her and us. God is good and her leaving was very peaceful. So many have stepped in and made sure the kids routine at home was disrupted as little as possible. The food and support has been overwhelming. The impact was instant and will be long lasting. Life will be sooo different.”


Will is now raising the six children himself. He is the kind of man that would NEVER ask for help. I had to beg him to allow The Bert Show community to help him.


But here’s the truth. He lost his job a year and a half ago. So, money is scarce. Really scarce. Example? He told me that he hasn’t had electricity in his master bedroom for over a year. He uses an extension chord to run the alarm clock in his room. He’s overwhelmed thinking about how he’s going to clothe, feed, transport and buy school supplies for his children over the next few weeks. When I asked him to put together a dream list of needs he said to me, “Our lifestyle has never allowed us to dream of things like this. I don’t know where to start.”


His list of needs is no dream list. It’s truly a need list: batteries, clothes, School supplies, bed linens, tennis shoes, kitchen supplies, and so much more. This is where your money is going.


And this is who your money is going to. From another email: “Every month Cheryl had me fill a cooler and a larger tote with food to take to families in Taccoa who had nothing. I would always say “you do know I don’t have a job” and she would say “yea but you have me”. She would come back telling me how blessed we were to have so much. I will continue in her spirit but She was a special person that has left a void.”Thank you for your help. Any donation will allow Will and the Starks just a little bit of comfort and security in their future.


Hear their story:

Update: We reveal all the donations to The Starks, bit by bit…

080811 – 0725 – Starks In Studio – Donation Presentaition (1)

From all the cash donations, we’ve raised over $189,518.79!!!

080811 – 0725 – Starks In Studio – Donation Presentaition – Callers

Mr. Stark is rendered speechless as the gifts keep coming. He just can’t believe it.

080811 – 0750 – Starks In Studio – Donation Presentaition (2)


The Stark story, from the top:

Cheryl Lynn Stark, 52, of Lawrenceville passed away on Thursday, July 21, 2011. Cheryl was a devoted Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister and Aunt.

She is survived by her Husband, William,  her daughters, Heather, Jennifer and her husband Neil, Jessica and her husband Robert, Melody, Natalie, Amber and Katie; sons, Johnathan and Jacob; father, Lyell Annis and his wife Linda; mother, Hazel Barrow; brother, Doug Annis and his wife Pam; nephews, Austin and Justin.

072911 – 0640 – BBA Starks Family Need Help – Mom Passes (1)

Will and Cheryl Stark adopted their first special needs child, Melody (17, Down Syndrome), 17 years ago, and realized that it was their true calling to care for children with similar needs, although Cheryl will joke that this was when she “went crazy.” They adopted five more special needs children in the next eight years: Natalie (16), Amber(14), John (14), Jacob (9), and Katie (9), all with illnesses ranging from nonverbal mental retardation to Cerebral Palsy to Down Syndrome. In addition, the Starks have three biological children, two of which are now special education teachers. All six adopted children and one of their biological daughters (and her husband) have been on the trip to Walt Disney World… the largest family BBA has ever taken.

072911 – 0820 – BBA Starks Family Need Help – Mom Passes (2)

The phone lines are flooded with listeners from Atlanta, Nashville, and Indianpolis calling in to help this family – the generosity is overwhelming. Stay tuned – the Stark family will need your help in the coming days, and we know that the Bert Show and Bert’s Big Adventures families can help out in a BIG way.

072911 – 0640 – BBA Starks Family Need Help – Mom Passes – Callers

We’ve got more details for you, and we need your help.

080111 – 0635 – BBA Starks Family Need Help – Mom Passes (3)

Offers are pouring in from The Bert Show community:

080111 – 0635 – BBA Starks Family Need Help – Mom Passes (3) Callers

Jaye Watson from 11 Alive News joins us to talk about her interview with the Starks. Check out the special tonight, Monday, August 1 at 11PM EST.

080111 – 0750 – BBA Starks Family Need Help – Mom Passes (4)

We can’t thank everyone enough for all the offers flooding in. You can also donate online here.

080111 – 0750 – BBA Starks Family Need Help – Mom Passes (4) Callers

We’ve got to keep the momentum going strong!

080111 – 0840 – BBA Starks Family Need Help – Mom Passes (5)

On to day 2 of our fundraiser for the Starks…people are donating cash and offering to cut the family’s hair for life!

080211 – 0625 – BBA Starks Family Need Help – Mom Passes (6)

Jessica and Heather Stark – two of the Starks biological children (they have three in addition to their six adopted children), stop by the studio to talk about their father and how he’s handling it all.

080211 – 0725 – BBA Starks Need Help – Jessica and Hearther (7)

More offers are flooding in – consider donating your Facebook status to The Stark Family.

080311 – 0820 – BBA Starks Need Help – Mom Passes (8)

Bert talks to HLN about The Starks – we’re going nationwide to get this family the help they deserve!

080411 – 0725 – BBA Starks Need Help – Mom Passes – HLN (9)

We want to raise $20,000 in the next two days – can we do it?

080511 – 0640 – BBA Starks Need Help – Last Push (10)

With a surprise donation, we’re on our way!

080511 – 0905 – BBA Starks Need Help – Last Push (11)

11 Alive covers the big reveal to the Starks, and that big amount we announced yesterday? We’ve raised even more!

080911 – 0700 – Starks On 11 Alive – Big Donations

Help The Stark Family – Donate Now, Right Here




Check out HLN’s initial coverage of the Stark Family

Check out 11 Alive’s Jaye Watson’s coverage of The Starks:

You can see photos of the big reveal below, or check them out on Facebook.