Guest Spotlight: Helping Hands

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A few years ago, Phil Edwards was living his best life, teaching an English conversational class in central Japan while enjoying the beautiful country.  While there, he met his future bride, Misaki. They married a couple of years later. Shortly after their return to Rock Hill, South Carolina, Phil was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Additional testing led to the diagnosis of yolk sac tumor, a type of germ cell tumor that develops in the reproductive area.

When chemotherapy treatment in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina, did not reduce the size of the tumor, Phil and Misaki decided to travel to UNC Hospitals for a stem cell transplant - a more invasive procedure used to treat germ cell tumors. Considered "the poster person" for stem cell transplant because everything that could happen to him did, the transplant was considered a success, thanks in large part to the team led by Dr. Jonathan Serody, Professor, School of Medicine, Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation Program.

While Phil was receiving treatment in Chapel Hill, Misaki and her mother-in-law, Sue Bullock, stayed in our hospitality for nearly three months. Most early mornings we would find them enjoying breakfast and connecting with other guests before spending long days at the hospital to be with Phil.

Asked what their stay at Family House means to them, Sue shares, “More than anything else, I have been so touched by all the guests we’ve met. The way we comforted one another, shared with one another, and helped each other. We prayed with and for each other. It was such a spiritual comfort for me.”

For Misaki, the best part of staying at Family House was being able to “share our feelings" with other guests. “I know that I’m not alone here," says Misaki. "People are very positive and have encouraged us a lot.”

For two independent women who aren't used to being on the receiving end of helping hands, they tell us that it was both humbling and hard to accept all the help and kindness they received at Family House. We're cheering on this family and the success of Phil’s stem cell transplant.


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