Faith in Focus

Walk for Hope inspired by some of “Phil’s Friends”

May 27, 2014 

Phil Zielke, founder of Phil’s Friends, at left, has been cancer-free since 2006.

BRANDON EPTING, BRANDON EPTING — COURTESY OF BRANDON EPTING

The volunteers who count themselves among Phil’s Friends have one very straightforward goal – to bring hope and support to cancer patients through their Christian-centered organization. The newest chapter of the group is located in Wake Forest and is promoting awareness of its mission during a Walk for Hope on Saturday that begins at 9 a.m. at Hope Lutheran Church on Rogers Road.

Phil’s Friends is based in suburban Chicago, and that’s where Wake Forest resident Mike Ponsolle learned about the group’s mission while visiting his sister-in-law. She brought him along for volunteer sessions that include assembling care packages for cancer patients and sending hand-addressed card and letters.

“It is just one of those organizations that hit home for me because there aren’t many people in this world that aren’t affected by cancer in some way,” Ponsolle says. “If it’s not you or someone close it’s someone you know.”

The Walk for Hope in Wake Forest will be attended by Phil’s Friends founder, Phil Zielke. He had the idea to form this faith-based charity while in a hospital bed fighting a cancer battle of his own. Zielke was diagnosed in 2004 with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and endured chemotherapy, radiation, a stem-cell transplant and a relapse before being declared cancer-free in 2006.

Through his organization, Zielke wanted to share the peace of God he felt he had come to know during his illness as well as pass on the strong support he received from family and friends.

Ponsolle hopes the Walk for Hope will provide the fundraising for the Wake County chapter to begin filling care packages for cancer patients with items that are physically and spiritually comforting and will be delivered personally by volunteers.

“We try to talk about Christ and how Christ is carrying them through it but we leave it up to the people,” Ponsolle says. “If they want to have more of an in-depth conversation about that they can. If they don’t , it’s okay and we leave it at that.”

Ponsolle says he is willing to work hard for Phil’s Friends because he believes in the work the group is doing.

“The message is short and sweet,” Ponsolle says. “They want to bring help to people that need it. I really like that there’s nothing else behind it. It’s as simple as that. They deliver care packages and help people.”

One Sunday

Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church will be combining all three regular Sunday morning worship services into a single service at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. "One Sunday" will be at the church, 4415 Pleasant Grove Church Road in Raleigh; all are welcome. For further information visit the church website at pgmuc.org or call the church office at 919-787-7763.

Concert Event

This Friday at 7 p.m.the Raleigh Camerata will perform in the chapel at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church at 5801 Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh. The Raleigh Camerata is an authentic early-Renaissance to Baroque period-instrument ensemble. Admission at the door is $15, $10 for senior citizens.

Coffeehouse Cancelled

Building renovations have forced the cancellation of this Saturday’s coffeehouse at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 7000 Creedmoor Road in North Raleigh. The coffeehouse is a popular monthly social activity for adults with special developmental needs.

Tell Us About Your Vacation Bible School

Summertime means Vacation Bible School time and we’d like to include your church’s information in an upcoming Faith in Focus column. Send me an email to the address at the bottom of the column with details of your VBS by June 1.

Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus. Contact her with information about your faith community’s upcoming events at least two weeks prior to the event date via email at carla.turchetti.writer@gmail.com..

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