Help the Hunsuckers

$84,520 of $95,000 goal

Raised by 480 people in 2 months
Created June 1, 2019
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Wilburn Hunsucker
In 2008 Phyllis and Will and their young family, Jaan, Raia, Asya (Bogdan was born in 2011) moved to Ukraine to minister in the local churches after being deported from Russia. They currently work with Agape Ministries, a local orphan ministry.

In April 2019 Phyllis was admitted to hospital with terrible abdominal pain and in recent weeks has been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. Providentially there is a world class cancer treatment centre in nearby Kyiv and Phyllis has been accepted into their care. The doctors have recommended that Phyllis commence immunotherapy for her cancer immediately, and in late May she and Will travelled to Kyiv to begin treatment.

The doctors have recommended infusions every three weeks at a cost of $4,800 per treatment. This amounts to almost $85,000 for a year. Phyllis's cancer is very serious and without this treatment her prognosis is poor. Even with treatment Will and Phyllis know that they are fighting the battle of their lives, but with our great God everything is possible and they put their faith in him.

Without your help, Phyllis's future is rather bleak. Please consider how you can help her continue her work to further God's kingdom by contributing to her care.

*** GoFundMe adds a 15% tip to each donation, to support their business.  You do not have to include that amount.  You can change that to 0 or any amount you choose.  ***
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Friends, next week should be Phyllis’s fifth Keytruda infusion. She and Will will travel to Kyiv on Sunday night and come back again on Tuesday. It’s an important trip, because during this visit the doctors will speak to them about the effectiveness of her treatment so far. On Monday they have an appointment for a scan and then a meeting with Phyllis's oncologist. If that goes well she will have her next infusion Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning. They especially covet your prayers during the lead up to this appointment. Here is some idea of what they can expect so that you know particularly how to pray.

First of all, we’re asking you to continue praying for complete healing for Phyllis. We do this because we know that nothing is too hard for God and that if it is his will then Phyllis can be cured from her illness. Doctors have never spoken in terms of a cure for metastatic melanoma until very recently with the advent of drugs like Keytruda and others in its class, purely because long-term survival was so rare. Now, for the first time, long-term survival of cancer like Phyllis’s is increasing substantially. Ultimately, this is what we pray for.

We know that Phyllis is not yet cured or in complete remission (where there is no evidence of disease (NED) on examination or imaging tests), but next week doctors will be looking to see if she is in partial remission, with regression or stabilisation of both size and number of tumours. In addition, they will be checking Phyllis for unacceptable side effects. Phyllis’s blood test results have been improving, so we ask you to pray that this continues and that there is no sign of liver toxicity or other dangerous issues. Pray, also, that her fatigue might be manageable. Results like this are what we hope to see next week.

Those of you who follow Phyllis’s blog will be in awe at the amount of work done by the Hunsucker family. Praise God that Phyllis feels so much better and has been able to be involved in a number of activities with them over the past few weeks. Pray that her energy levels increase so that she can do more of what she loves. Give thanks that she has put on a little weight and pray that this continues.

Here’s how you can #prayforthehunsuckers particularly in the lead up to next week:

• Pray for travelling mercies for Phyllis and Will during 25-27 August.
• Pray for strength and safety during her infusion and that her side effects, particularly her fatigue, are manageable.
• Pray for positive test results with a regression in both the size and number of tumours.
• Remember the whole Hunsucker family and their work with Agape and at the local orphanages. Give thanks that Phyllis was able to spend time with the children at ‘her’ orphanage last week and pray especially for the children.
• Pray that Phyllis’s fund will continue to grow and give thanks for donors.
• Pray for complete healing.

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Dear Friends,

We have updated our GoFundMe total again today to include donations made to GBC during July. This brings our total so far to $82,895 – all praise to our heavenly father. While we can, and should, rejoice, let us not become complacent – our goal only covers a part of the costs that Phyllis and Will are facing during this journey and we dearly want to be able to remove financial concerns from them during their trial. In addition to the Keytruda, each journey to Kyiv costs about $500, which will amount to more than $7000 at the end of a year’s treatments. And that’s not counting pharmaceuticals in between visits, which is already in the hundreds.

We must acknowledge the efforts of two of Phyllis’s friends this month – Katie Hudgins and Misty Sena – whose posts on the AmblesideOnline Facebook group page both raised over $1000 in a single day. Thank you to both of these ladies as well as to the AO Advisory for allowing us to use this page to help Phyllis. Thank you also to all of the lovely AO families who have contributed to these appeals. Many small donations soon add up to something big. Please consider posting our fundraiser often on your own social media pages – this really does help. Remember also to make the posts ‘Public’ and to use our hashtag #helpthehunsuckers so that we can see them. Your support means so much to Phyllis and Will and they are humbled by your continual care of them.

While we are talking about money, we are happy to be able to reassure those of you who have asked that Will has been obtaining good financial advice on how best to manage their savings. Grace Bible Church has opened an account with brokerage to handle gifts of stock if any of you are in a position to contribute in this way. Please message us if you need further details.

Phyllis continues to feel well during her treatment and was delighted to be able to visit her beloved orphanage yesterday. The fatigue that she felt after her second infusion has hung on much longer after her third treatment, so please pray that she might be able to manage the tiredness and that it is not so bad after her next infusion next Tuesday. Phyllis is travelling to Kyiv alone this trip, overnight both ways, so let us pray for travelling mercies for her. This sort of travel is exhausting for anyone!

We rejoice that Phyllis has been able to enjoy the little things. There is a robin that has been singing in her tree every day. The Hunsucker family has been going on long rambling walks and they have seen pheasants, rabbits, and even her favourite European bee-eaters. This is what life is all about, my friends. Thank you all for your part in making this possible for our dear Phyllis. Our merciful God has been so gracious in answering our prayers.

Here’s how you can #prayforthehunsuckers this week:

• Give thanks for the generosity of so many people as we near our first fundraising goal.
• Pray for travelling mercies for Phyllis as she travels to and from Kyiv next week.
• Ask that her blood tests continue to improve and that her liver is not affected by her treatment. Pray that the infusion runs smoothly.
• Give thanks that Phyllis feels so much better and has been able to enjoy the simple pleasures of the Ukrainian summer. Pray that her fatigue does not worsen after this next infusion.
• Remember the Hunsucker family and their work with Agape and at the local orphanages. Give thanks that Phyllis was able to visit her orphanage this week. Pray also for these underprivileged children.
• Praise God for answered prayers.
• Pray for healing.

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Dear Friends,

We hit the three quarter mark in our fundraising for Phyllis’s treatment this week. Raising $71,797 in 7 weeks is phenomenal and is evidence of how highly we all esteem Phyllis and her family and their work in Ukraine. Thank you for your contribution, no matter how big or small. #helpthehunsuckers

Of course Phyllis knows that she has a need of something far greater than money, and that is her friends and family acting as her prayer warriors. For those of you filling that role the Hunsucker family is particularly grateful. We are hopeful that these updates help give direction to your prayers each week, but our Father knows what Phyllis needs and he hears all who pray. We continue to ask that it is his sovereign will that Phyllis be healed of her melanoma, even while praying that she be refined by her current suffering. “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it” Isaiah 48:10. Pray that Phyllis really knows that she is not walking this difficult path alone.

Phyllis’s blood results this week give us much to be thankful for. Her liver function abnormalities appear to be resolving, and her haemoglobin level is almost back in the normal range. As Phyllis puts it, “There is much less red this time!” (Abnormal results are reported in red ink.) Phyllis and her doctors are cautiously of the opinion that her tumours feel a little smaller, and this would be clear evidence that the Keytruda is working as we have hoped. Her next appointment has been moved to August 6th to better fit in with travel arrangements.

Phyllis’s third infusion went without a hitch this past week and Phyllis appreciated Raia’s company in Kyiv. The two even managed a visit to a bookstore while they were there - good to see where their priorities lie! Phyllis is feeling quite a lot of fatigue both from the drugs and the travel, so this week we are adding prayers for more energy to our requests below. Some of the Hunsucker children are a bit sniffly, so also pray that they are not starting a round of colds. Pray particularly that Phyllis remains well.

Attached is a super photograph of the family with Agape camp friends taken yesterday.

Here is how you can #prayforthehunsuckers this week:

• Give thanks that Phyllis and Raia’s travel was hassle-free and that the Keytruda infusion went smoothly.
• Praise God that Phyllis’s blood tests are better and ask that her liver function remain good and not be affected by her therapy. Continue to pray that her haemoglobin levels return to normal.
• Give thanks that Phyllis feels so well and that she is not experiencing too many side effects from the treatment. Pray for extra energy and that she doesn’t feel too tired.
• Pray for strength for the Hunsucker family as they continue to minister at camps this week. Ask that they remain well and that Phyllis, in particular, doesn’t come down with a cold.
• Praise God that we are seeing the answers to our prayers and give thanks for Phyllis’s prayer warriors and for all who have donated.
• Pray for healing.

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Friends, Phyllis is so enjoying feeling well, especially during Will’s birthday week. The Hunsucker family was able to celebrate with dinner at a local restaurant, and you can see them all in the attached photo. Doesn’t Phyllis look great? (The rest of the family looks pretty good as well!)

Will and all four Hunsucker children spent the week at an Agape camp at "Phyllis's" special needs orphanage, and worked translating for friends from the US, leading songs, acting in skits and helping in a myriad different ways. Phyllis stayed at home to conserve her strength - I'm sure you can appreciate how difficult that was for her. There is another camp this coming week as well, this time at a local children's shelter where children are housed temporarily before being either returned home or sent to an institution, depending on the severity of the problems at home. The whole family are feeling exhausted and they ask your prayers for strength especially this week.

Phyllis’s third Keytruda infusion is on Monday. She travelled with Raia to Kyiv on Sunday and they will come home again on Tuesday, God willing. I’m sure our two girls will so enjoy some one-on-one quality time during the trip. Phyllis will have more blood tests whilst at the clinic, so our prayer points this week include praying that her haemoglobin levels are rising and that her liver function is not being too affected by side effects of the medication.

We also need to thank Anthony Coafield from Living Book Press for his kind donation of 10% of profits to the GoFundMe page. Those who purchased books in June allowed Anthony to donate more than $700.00. The Hunsucker family is grateful to Anthony and to each purchaser.

Remember that we regularly update the fund total here with contributions from other sources, so you can see how Phyllis’s campaign is going. Please check back often and continue to re-share with our hashtag: #helpthehunsuckers. It is also possible to subscribe here for updates but to donate by cheque to:

Grace Bible Church,
8820 Idlewild Rd.,
Charlotte, NC 28227

Please remember to add that the cheque is for Will and Phyllis Hunsucker. Donations there are tax deductible and are deposited directly into their bank account.

Here’s how to #prayforthehunsuckers this week:

• Pray for travelling mercies for Phyllis and Raia and that they might enjoy having time together.
• Pray that Phyllis’s blood tests on Monday show improvements in her haemoglobin level and liver function tests.
• Pray that the infusion runs smoothly and Phyllis has minimal side effects from treatment.
• Give thanks that Phyllis continues to feel so well and is pain free and pray that this means that her cancer is in remission.
• Give thanks for the family time that the Hunsuckers have been able to enjoy this past week and for the nice time they had celebrating Will’s birthday.
Pray for additional strength for the Hunsucker family as they serve this week at the children's shelter. Pray also for these precious children and their parents.
• Praise God for his visible answers to our prayers.
• Pray for healing.

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$84,520 of $95,000 goal

Raised by 480 people in 2 months
Created June 1, 2019
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Wilburn Hunsucker
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