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"A year has passed since I received word that my body was battling cancer. Thinking back on this past year makes me realize how much cancer has impacted my life. One of the most significant ways it has changed me is by causing me to enjoy the little things in life and to always be thankful. Going through a life changing experience such as cancer, has helped me see a more positive outlook on life. Rather than going through each day complaining about everything that could go wrong, I now am more apt to smile about what is going good.
"Another way cancer has affected my life is how I spend my time. I have become more involved with organizations that reach out to others especially through Phil's Friends, that reaches out to cancer patients. When I was undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year, Phil’s Friends supported me. After receiving their support along with the support from many other friends and family, I knew I wanted to re-gift that support to others by becoming involved with Phil’s Friends. I was given this opportunity while attending Concordia University Chicago this year. One of the Phil’s Friends’ chapters is located on Concordia’s campus. I was a member in the fall and was handed over the leadership role in January. I now am in charge of running meetings, sending out cards and packages, as well as supporting the patients we serve. I have also been able to attend and serve at fundraising dinners for Phil’s Friends.
"Through Phil’s Friends I have made connections with many other people who have gone through a similar cancer experience. At one point I was emailing at least six different people to let them know I was praying for them and I cared. Some of the people were familiar to me, others were not but to me it did not matter. I wanted to be a positive and encouraging aspect in their lives when they felt like no one else was there. I know that in the remaining years of college, I will continue to play an integral role with Phil’s Friends as we continue to spread support to those affected by cancer."
"Cancer touched my family when I was 15 years old. My grandmother that I was very close to was diagnosed with Melanoma and she passed away a year after her diagnosis. At the time and for a long time I was very angry with God. After so many years I have understood that she was better off going to be with the Father. I have always had a heart to help others, being a Christian for so many years, and it never occurred to me that I could help and make a difference giving support to so many that are grieving and also the families that are left behind dealing with the pain. When I first heard of Phil's Friends on the radio about the walkathon that was going to take place in Melrose Park, it really spoke to me. It woke up inside of me a lot of emotions that I remember having when my grandma passed away. I knew it was time for me to step up and do something to share with others the love, courage & strength that God has given me through the rough times. I feel very blessed that you have given me the opportunity to join this ministry."
"Phil’s Friends are a truly amazing group of caring people who are reaching out to people with cancer, their family & friends. I stumbled on their website in 2007 after recovering from surgery. I was not searching for anything in specific and somehow ended up here. I look back now and know that God led me to Phil’s Friends and they were even located within miles of where I live! Since the end of 2007, through the whole year of 2008, and into this year, they have been there for me. They never forgot about me. The care package I received was filled with meaningful things that helped ease the pain that I was feeling. The neatest thing of all is, it seems that every time I am going through more tests and frightened about the results, I either get an email or card in the mail saying they are praying for me or how in specific can they pray for me. To know that people I never have met are praying for me is the most wonderful feeling imaginable.
"A little background on me…
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, Stage 1, and in 2006 I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastasis breast cancer. I was totally taken off guard. From 2006 until September of 2007 I was doing alternative things. In the fall of 2007 I ended up in the hospital with a brain tumor. While undergoing many different types of tests they found cancer in other areas also. I continue to go for chemo weekly and am still fighting the fight. By the grace of God I am still able to work part-time and for the most part feel pretty good.
"My favorite scripture verse is: “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold. (I Peter 1:6-7).
"In closing, if anyone reading this is dealing with cancer or has a family member or even a friend with cancer, please sign them up to receive a “Care Package”. It will make their day!
"Thank you Phil & Friends for sharing the word of God and being there for people in need."
"Thank you for this ministry. I can think of nothing more worthy than this. So many souls are lost, and they leave this world lost. My sister, who is very sick, has been one of those lost. Your ministry helps people like her. I want my sister and others like her to find their way to Christ."
"Dear Phil’s Friends,
I want to thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your ministry family. Cancer is no stranger to our family. My grandmother, my aunt, and my sister- in- law all were diagnosed with breast cancer. Thank God; all 3 of them are survivors!
"We lost someone very dear to us this past March, my daughter Tanya. Although it was not cancer that took her, it was a lifelong illness that weakened her defenses, and finally it was pneumonia that took her home to our Lord.
"She was 24 yrs young, and had struggled her whole life with surgeries, transplants, and countless visits to the hospital. Through it all, she kept her head high, and remained strong in her faith. She showed us that no matter what God has in store for us, we couldn’t let it get us down. Her motto was, “If it doesn’t kill me, it can’t hurt me”!
"Tanya blessed the lives of many people, more than we even knew. At her wake, I had so many people come up to me and tell me stories of how Tanya gave them hope, and strength to beat whatever they were going through. It was then that it really hit me. When we are down, and struggling, what a better way to keep our heads high, but to help others around us.
“There is always someone out there who has it worse than me”, was something that Tanya would tell me over and over again, as she lay in her hospital bed hooked up to endless machines, facing yet another surgery. It amazed me how she could keep such a positive attitude through it all. Had it not been for our faith, family, and the support of our friends and church family, we would have been lost!
I have always been very passionate about working with, and helping people. Everything that life has dealt us has made me even more passionate about it. Had it not been for the love, support, and the word of God that we received in our darkest times, I don’t know how we would have made it through it.
I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with an organization that does just that! Phil’s Friends is all about compassion, support, and sharing God’s love with people as they face what could possibly be the toughest journey they will ever travel. Visiting with them, helping them with things that we all take for granted, praying with them and their families…. it is truly an amazing experience!!"
"I was having headaches for a week and went in for an MRI.I was told a had spots on the brain. I checked into Alexian Bros and was checked out and was told I had renal kidney cancer that had metastisized to the brain. We decided to get a second opinion, so we came home after one week at Alexian Bros. As soon as we got home Phil's Friends delivered a care package to my home. I had been to two of Phil's walk-a-thons, but I never thought about receiving a care package. I had mixed emotions at first because we were still kind of in shock about the whole thing. But then as I worked through all the emotions that many of the books said I would, I thought what a wonderful thing. It was a spiritual duffle bag. It helped with my feelings of loneliness. Then I talked with Phil on the phone, and Phil and his wife came to my house and it was very encouraging. I feel much better now but at that time it was new and Phil really helped. The banquet was very emotional but in a good way. Phil' Friends has been a blessing and I plan on getting involved after my surgery and chemo."
"My name is Doria, and I’m a volunteer for Phil’s Friends. In 2001, at the age of 44, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and underwent two surgeries and six rounds of chemotherapy. Then in September 2007, I was diagnosed with cancer again -- this time it was melanoma, a potentially deadly skin cancer, and I had two more surgeries. Currently cancer-free, I am happy to volunteer for “a ministry that provides Christ-centered support and hope to those affected by cancer.” I know first-hand how important it was to me when people reached out and supported me when I needed it most.
Phil’s Friends offers a variety of opportunities to plug in and make a difference. I have “adopted” a cancer patient and her family (beautiful 16-year-old Taylor who is battling brain cancer.) I met Taylor’s mom Kathleen (by God-coincidence) at a Christian concert. I noticed Kathleen was holding a Phil’s Friends Care Package that she had just received at the booth. We started talking and things just clicked. Though Taylor’s mom and I live miles apart, she says is thankful to have me as her “cyber-friend.” Taylor’s picture is on my refrigerator as a reminder for me to pray every day and to stay in touch. I’ve also had the honor of sharing my testimony at the Walk-A-Thon, enjoyed making homemade cards for care packages, and will be spreading the message of the ministry of Phil’s Friends this fall by doing chapel services in schools.
Why do I volunteer? Truthfully, I get more than I give."
"I received my care package on Saturday - what a wonderful surprise. I was expecting literature and when this huge package arrived I couldn't imagine what it was. What a joy it was to go thru each item. I love the tote and proudly carry it to work every day. I also am passing the word out to friends to let their friends and family know about Phil's Friends. To have a Christian based place to go to for information and to know there are people praying for you, in our local area, is such a blessing."
I just wanted to let you know what my 6-year old Sydney said to me in the car today…. “Mom, after going to the walk-a-thon yesterday, I feel so close to God-- I just want to shout God’s word everywhere.” (I thought----Ditto) Thanks for all you do and touching so many people’s lives."
Keep up the good works!
"Dear Phil's Friends;
"I just wanted to drop you a note to say thank you very much for the care package you sent me following my cancer surgery.
"Finding out that I had cancer was a very sobering event in my life, however with my strong faith and the support of family and friends, I turned it all over to God and trusted Him to get me through this bump in the road. In the end, my cancer was caught in the very early stages and the surgery to remove the cancerous part of my colon was a complete success...I am now cancer free! All thanks to God our Father.
"Your fine organization should be commended for providing support and encouragement to people dealing with all stages of cancer. I was very surprised and happy to receive my care package, and have made a donation to show my appreciation. May God continue to bless your special ministry."
"My father had not been feeling well for some time. After seeing doctors in Brazil and Florida, it was determined that he had cancer, and that there wasn’t much time left for him on earth. My sister-in-law and I went to Florida to see my father for the last time. I brought a Phil’s Friends package with to give to my dad. I went through the items with my father and he had a lot of questions. We explained what each item was and what it meant. That Saturday my dad decided to go to church on Sunday morning. Near the end of the church service, the pastor asked people to come forward if they wanted to make a public profession of accepting Christ. My father raised his hand and went forward. In the church there was a big baptismal pool where people were being baptized, but instead, my father decided that he wanted to be baptized in the Gulf of Mexico. So, he went out into the Gulf of Mexico and was baptized.
The care package was the final piece for my dad. Sometimes it takes that one more piece to put the final brick in the wall to become a Christian. The Holy Spirit is constantly tugging at us, and the devil is constantly trying to make sure that the final brick doesn’t get into place. Phil’s Friends was the last piece that helped my father realize that he needed to be saved. The fact that someone (Phil’s Friends) would reach out who doesn’t even actually know you means a lot."
"My rotation this month is at Children's Hospital on the hem/onc team. I have learned so much about chemo meds and different forms of cancer. I am also learning about death as I am caring for a dying child with medulloblastoma (type of brain cancer). I have never been involved with a dying child, and it has been heartbreaking for me. I watch the daily struggle of the parents as they watch her weaken. Your foundation has come to my mind a lot this month. I have had many children who have been newly diagnosed. The parents seem so overwhelmed and frightened. All of their lives are put on hold. They desperately need the support that your foundation can provide. I hope that you are doing well. Take care and
I have to write you this note to share my thoughts with you. Not only do I think 'Phil's Friends' is a wonderful, God send, blessing, a gift to so many lives.....; but I also wanted to tell you that God is smiling down upon you and your life that you live for others and for Him. So we might not know each other, but we are brothers and sisters in Christ, and I am so proud of you and the light that shines from your life by example. Thanks for sharing your organization with not only the patients, and families, but all around you. Your light has seeped from you out of my best friend, Jackie."
My thoughts and prayers,
"Thank you so very much for thinking of me with the blue bag full of comforting goodies and books. I cried when I received them, I was surprised there was anyone out there who would do such a good deed for a total stranger. I went through breast cancer 13 years ago. I fought against it then and now I’m going to do it again, with God’s help.
"I wish you and your family the best of luck and a healthy new year."