Before I begin this post, I would like to educate you all about my beautiful friend Charli. Charli and I went to high school together and when I think of Charli, I think of horses. I remember her love and compassion for animals. After high school Charli got married. December will be three years since she said “I do” with her husband Derek.
Derek is a marine, and shortly after the two love birds wedded they both moved to Okinawa, Japan. I know, crazy right? When I found out I remember thinking “How brave is she to just up and leave with her hubby?” I don’t know that I am THAT brave. Little did I know that I would find out exactly how BRAVE Charli really is.
Over the past 8-9 months I have been writing “Charli Hengst” on my prayer list at church every Sunday. Charli was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma while she was in Japan. Renal Cell Carcinoma is a kidney cancer that originates in the lining of the proximal convoluted tubule, the very small tubes in the kidney that filter the blood and remove waste products. RCC is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults, responsible for approximately 80% of cases. It is EXTREMELY rare for a 23 year old to be diagnosed with such a violent type of cancer.
Before I go on about such a special couple, I would like to quote Charli from her blog…
“I have cancer, cancer does not have me.”
Charli is currently doing really well, some of the spots have shrunk which means the chemo is working. She will get her new scans around September 10th, so I need everyone to pray for Charli. Matthew 18:20 reads “When two or more gather in my name, I am there among them.” Pray for Charli to stay strong and positive. She is taking chemo pills along with actual chemo sessions, these make her nauseous and extremely tired.
You can stay updated on Charli, become more educated on Kidney Cancer, and donate at
Charli and Derek, I hope you enjoy these. Stay strong and keep the faith alive.
I said “Derek, you are such a sweet husband to come take pictures with Charli on this hot day.” Charli interrupted and said ” This is the least he does, he makes all of my meals, he goes to all of my treatments, he does all of the cleaning, he helps with the dogs, and everything in between.” I am so glad that these two found each other, “in sickness and in health.”
I was honored to spend the afternoon with you guys. Thanks for letting me tell your story!