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StoryCorps remembers Mark Carles, who recently died of cancer


It's Friday, so we bring you StoryCorps. David Carles and his younger brother, Mark, were inseparable. A little more than two years ago, they came to StoryCorps as Mark was fighting cancer. Mark died last week at the age of 27. So we're going to remember him now. First, we'll hear part of Mark and David's original StoryCorps conversation, then some thoughts from David recorded just days ago.


DAVID CARLES: When we first found out, the doctor said, he has two to three months left. And I know you love your brother, but there's nothing we can do. And I just remember the whole room went black.

MARK CARLES: Since being diagnosed, I had a massive surgery, 16 hours, 17 pints of blood, and we didn't know I was going to live.

D CARLES: But then you woke up, and the only way for you to communicate was through sign language.


D CARLES: The first thing that you signed was my name, which was tough, but it meant everything to me.

M CARLES: Thank goodness you taught it to me.


M CARLES: I write down now all the time if I was going to die tomorrow, what am I going to do today? And I want to spend as much time with you as possible.

D CARLES: I'm trying to milk out every ounce of Mark that I can.

M CARLES: You're stockpiling.

D CARLES: Yeah. You know, I've been on multiple dates in the last year, and in my Tinder profile, it says down for a good time and my brother is my sidekick, and he will also come out on the dates as well. I say you make the date 10 times better, and you also pay sometimes, too, where, you know...

M CARLES: Yeah, I'm a good date.

D CARLES: You are a very good date.

M CARLES: But they must think you're real strange.

D CARLES: I've got a few different messages that said, hey, is your brother in on it, too? Maybe they think that it's, like, a package deal.

M CARLES: Well, it is a package deal, but it's a different kind of package.

D CARLES: Right, exactly, a different kind of package. Yeah. Some understand, and some don't. And, you know, the ones that don't, there is no second date. Every day, I wish, you know, we can reverse and switch roles, but there's absolutely nothing I can do. And it eats at me every single day.

M CARLES: I have to carry the cancer, but you have to carry me.

D CARLES: Yeah. We don't know how much time we have left together, but I'm very happy with the 20-plus years we've had of being brothers.

M CARLES: We're in this together.

D CARLES: We are, no matter what.


D CARLES: My brother, Mark, passed away two days after my 29th birthday. He held on until my birthday. That's how much he loved me. Some of the things that Mark had to go through are unimaginable. But despite all that, he turned three months into 40 months. Mark kept on going, so I will keep going for Mark.


MARTIN: David Carles remembering his brother, Mark, who died from cancer last week. Their interviews will be archived at the Library of Congress.


NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Lauren Smith
Mia Warren