Meet Charlie Kroeger CanCare Charleston's August 2019 Volunteer Spotlight

Where are you from originally and what brought you to the low country?


I was born in St. Louis Missouri, and lived in Toronto Ontario, Amherst New Hampshire, and Cincinnati Ohio before moving to the Low Country. While in Cincinnati, I was CEO of a company that was acquired by another; shortly thereafter, I was free of the corporate world and my wife had a lot of history in Charleston…so we ended up moving here and are very happy that we did.

What kind of work do you do?

I am a self-employed consultant. My expertise is in the application of horizontal mixers, dryers and reactors used in the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Think of things that are consumed everyday like laundry detergent, candy, artificial sweeteners, cake frosting, dog and cat food, etc…helping companies produce those products on a very large scale is what I do.

What do you like to do for fun?

Fun for me is doing anything that creates a vivid long-term memory of my wife and kids. We have a large cruiser (boat) that we not only use here in Charleston, but also do a lot of destination boating, like cruising to Hilton Head Harbor Town Marina for a weekend. I also love to take my wife on dates, I can never get enough of one-on-one time with her; she is smart, funny, and beautiful…plus she loves me, and I love her.

Are you a member of a local church?

We belong to Christ our King and our children go to COK Stella Maris.

What types of cancer have you survived?

Colon Cancer, Melanoma, Renal Cancer, and I’ve been battling/surviving Prostate Cancer for about 2 years now.

What types of treatment or surgeries have you undergone?

For the Colon Cancer; Colorectal surgery followed by 6 months chemotherapy. For the melanoma; surgery. For the Renal Cancer; they did a partial resection of my left kidney. For the Prostate Cancer; a radical prostectomy, 3 months of radiation, ongoing Androgen Depravation Therapy, daily Erleada (Apalutimide) along with various drugs to cancel out some of the side effects…unfortunately, I haven’t been able to shake off the PC…but someday I’ll beat it!

What have been the most helpful ways people have supported you?

Everyone is different, but there are several standouts. My wife can see right through me and knows when I’m tired and need a break…she often sees it before I do and provides the environment for me to relax. She’s the closest to me and she’s been the best antidote to the day to day problems that fighting cancer brings on. My kids are a great distraction, and they help me without even knowing it. I know all too well that fighting cancer is a lonely job even with loving people all around you; so I joined the CanCare team of volunteers so that I could help others talk about their hopes and fears related to the disease…something that only a survivor can do. I also have a fantastic doctor who has an old school approach to caring for me. He’s reachable outside his office, and sometimes he even makes friendly house calls.

Why did you decide to become a CanCare Volunteer?

In addition to the previous response, the people that CanCare match with me provides a reminder that the experience I have surviving cancer all these years can really help comfort people who are trying to make sense of their diagnosis. I know that it’s a big deal even for those that can be cured relatively easily. The mental aspect of a cancer diagnosis is debilitating and I understand it all too well.

What do you find most gratifying about being a CanCare Volunteer?

Listening to people’s stories. My experience with cancer patients has always been awe-inspiring, people are in the battle for their lives, and they can still crack a joke and have fun. Cancer really does change you from the inside out…it reminds you how precious life is on a daily basis.

Tell us something you are looking forward to.

I have three daughters and one son…I look forward to all of their weddings. And after raising our twins, I look forward to spending more one-on-one time with my wife.

Tell us how we can be praying for you, Charlie.

I truly believe in the power of prayer and I have felt the power of prayer. Prayers related to peace and comfort for my wife and kids while I continue to battle Prostate Cancer are what I need because the disease affects the whole family and I can’t lose sight of that.