Rev. Jeff Phillips of Gurnee, associate paster at First Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church in North Chicago, has stage 4 cancer and the church is hosting a benefit concert. | Special to Sun-Times Media
IF YOU GO
What: The Rev. Jeff Phillips Cancer Benefit Musical
When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9
Where: First Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church, 1529 Elizabeth Ave., North Chicago
More Info: (224) 419-5310 or email email@example.com
Updated: February 6, 2013 1:56AM
NORTH CHICAGO — The Rev. Jeff Phillips of Gurnee was told he had two years left to live after he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in March 2011.
The married father of two was working as an information technology contractor and as an associate minister at First Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church in North Chicago until his oncologist told him in November that he could not go back to work.
“It’s hard, mentally and emotionally, because I’m used to being able to always provide for my family,” Phillips said.
His wife works for Abbott Laboratories. His boys are ages 10 and 11. His application for disability is pending and could take months.
With the holidays approaching, bills piling up and the family’s income severely reduced, his church has rallied.
They are holding their first-ever benefit musical concert event on Sunday.
“Our church can hold a thousand people. We’re hoping for 500 plus,” said Donna Dallas, church member and benefit committee planning member. “It’s a worthy event.”
Proceeds will allow the Phillips family to “help with whatever their financial needs are.” Phillips said proceeds will help keep them afloat.
The event will be hosted by Stellar Award nominee Malcolm Williams and features gospel recording artist Deborah Vaughn Biddle and a few other gospel groups, she said.
Phillips has been an associate pastor at the North Chicago church for a couple of years. He said the cancer has progressed despite multiple chemotherapy treatment efforts.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States and is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.
Phillips said he never accepted the two-year prognosis he was given.
“I am definitely, really, utterly and truly thankful that my church family is rallying around me and putting this together,” he said. “It takes a lot of weight off my mind just knowing there are people looking out for me ...I’m still hopeful and I’m still prayerful that these targeted therapies I’ve been talking to my doctors about will help me be here longer, but that remains to be seen ultimately in God’s hands.”