In Spring 2017, Charles Gilmer started feeling tired… all the time. It seemed like maybe pollen affected him, so he went to the doctor for allergies. After several rounds of medication and even shots, nothing happened. He didn’t feel any better.

He went back, this time for a blood test. Turns out, Charles had cancer. And by the time the doctor discovered it, Charles was so dehydrated that his kidneys were on the verge of completely shutting down. Immediately, he was admitted to the hospital for five days and filled up with fluids while every inch of his body got examined and x-rayed.

This kicked off an intense battle with cancer and, as a result, a struggle to keep fluids in his body. We found out about Charles thanks to a loyal friend, who wrote to tell us Charles’ story and see if we could provide Hoist—Charles’ favorite, Strawberry Lemonade—to spare Charles a bit of the financial burden, not to mention the headache of running around Dallas and buying out Hoist at any store that carried it.

We had to find out more about this obviously very beloved man, so we sat down with Charles and asked him if he’d be willing to tell us his story in his own words. Here’s what he said:

After my initial stint in the hospital, I met with a wonderful oncologist who took my case. On July first, I started chemo treatments. At first, I struggled to keep my body hydrated because a side effect of chemo treatments is dehydration which leads to fatigue and inability to keep food down. But, I just couldn’t seem to drink enough water.

Twice, I almost passed out because of dehydration. At home one day, I fell while getting up to go to walk from my bedroom to the bathroom. Then it happened again at the oncologist’s office. When I got to the office door and reached for the handle, I saw a woman coming out of the office, so I paused to open the door for her… and then I simply crumpled, sliding down a wall next to me.

Immediately, I had to start the hydration process again: IV fluids, water, and gatorade.  But the only way I could stay hydrated was with the help of the doctor-administered infusions.  This meant that every day for that week I had to spend four hours hooked up to an IV. My dehydration was so severe, it was difficult for nurses to find usable blood vessels. Additionally, I was now unable to drive and had to depend on friends to drive me to and from the treatments.

I became so discouraged. Going for hydration every day was exhausting. I wanted to get back to my regular twice-weekly schedule with the oncologist, but I couldn’t because everything in my system was low and critical. I simply couldn’t keep food and water in on my own.

At the end of that week, my doctor recommended Hoist.

My wife took me all over town looking for this drink. We finally found it at a stop-and-shop gas station right outside of downtown Dallas. Immediately I bought all the bottles of Hoist this store had. But then I had to keep searching for stores that carried Hoist. Fortunately, some very good friends at my church started buying me Hoist and bringing it home to me.

It wasn’t long before my vitals changed. My kidney function improved and my supply of good blood cells skyrocketed. I was even able to return to my regular treatments of receiving chemo and medication just two days a week. This has been my schedule now for almost a year. And although the meds dry me out, they do kill cancer cells.

As I continued to drink Hoist, however, I improved, and I was eventually able to lower the amount of saline I needed to receive. I went from two bags of saline down to a half or a quarter of a bag. Hoist has helped me more than I can say. With my cancer, I must stay hydrated, and drinking Hoist does that for me.

Now, almost a year later, I keep a bottle of Hoist near me at all times:  in my car, one at my desk—During our conversation, I actually have four bottles right here next to me. Anytime you see me, I will be holding a Hoist in my hand. I proudly display Hoist everywhere: the doctor’s office, the clinic where I get chemo, my church. I love it. I just can’t believe my good fortune in finding a product that tastes so good and keeps me hydrated.

So how are you now?

Well, in January I received a biopsy to check my progress. From that report, we learned that I went from having 90% cancer cells in my bone marrow down to 30%. I’m presently receiving my last phase of chemo, so there’s just a little bit more to go!

I’m also at a stage where I feel very good, and in my body, I feel no pain or nausea. In fact, I have energy today.

For anyone in cancer treatment, it helps to have great people supporting you. In fact, that’s how I got personally connected to Hoist. My friend who emailed you was part of my church’s prayer program. At that time, everyone was pitching in to buy me cases of Hoist so I wouldn’t run out. It has been unbelievable the way friends have cared for me. They have shared my story with people I’ve never met, and I have been receiving prayers and well wishes from people all over the state. My tennis buddies will call me from time to time too, to check on me when they don’t see me on the courts. It’s amazing. Things are so much better now, and there’s hope on my horizon.

After I complete the current chemo cycle (hopefully within the next three or four months), I will be back in touch with my bone marrow specialist. At that time, he will reevaluate my progress and I should either be in remission or go forward with a bone marrow transplant.

I know that I don’t want to go back to being dehydrated. Those times I fell or had to be hospitalized really set me back. In fact, I believe that I would be closer to full health now if the dehydration hadn’t occurred which caused my lab reports to be so low. It happened quickly and now I know that I can’t allow myself to be dehydrated again.

Hoist has helped me so much and it has been a real blessing. This product, which was completely unknown to me at one time, is now an essential part of life.

We can’t wait to check back in with Charles in the next few months and find out how he’s doing and what the bone marrow specialist had to say. Stay tuned!