Mr. Kelly Phillips, who has been struggling with cancer, began a whirlwind trip in 2017 down the Mississippi River from Wisconsin, and made it to his destination of Venice, LA. Due to issues with his houseboat, he was been stuck in Natchez, MS for a month; he is still in Venice doing more work on his boat before he embarks on a trip to Gulfport, MS. He unfortunately lost his longtime canine companion, Sapphire. He got a new friend named Shameless.
—Kelly’s story (link)
After learning he had only three months to live, Wisconsin-native Kelly Phillips took a leap of faith into the Mississippi River, literally.
Kelly said he was diagnosed with sinus cancer more than two years ago and in early 2016 decided to spend his remaining days living in a houseboat and floating down the Mississippi River.
After undergoing radiation therapy and chemotherapy, Phillips developed an ulcer in his stomach that exploded, he said. He woke up 21 days later in hospice and was told he had three months to live.
“I just woke up in hosipce and decided, ‘What the heck, let’s do this,’” Phillips said. “There is really no reasoning behind the decision, except for it just coming to me. Might as well do it. I don’t have any other plans.”
Phillips got a houseboat and began his journey down the Mississippi River in Madison, Wisconsin, on March 15, 2017, and has been floating down the river ever since.
Throughout his journey on the Mississippi, Phillips said he believes he has encountered God’s presence countless times. And although Phillips said he believed 100-percent in God before his adventure, the trip has strengthened his faith in God even more.
Throughout his trip, Phillips said floating down river has restored his faith in humanity. After the people from the agency who found Sapphire in Memphis reunited the two, the office decided buy him a new generator and cell phone.
“It’s been wonderful,” Phillips said.
Phillips said he is appreciative of everyone who has helped along the way thus far, but he is just happy to have met them and looks forward to meeting more people.
“I want to keep meeting people,” Phillips said. “Everyone has been great to me. Asking about my story. It’s inspiring and worth telling. Yet I’m just happy to meet people. It’s been one hell of a ride so far.”
Natchez Democrat, July 13, 2018