Clergy family fights cancer, gives back to community

Clergy family fights cancer, gives back to community

The Phillips family organizes a blood-donor and cancer-fighting campaign. From left to right are Tillery (age 2), Alana, Luke (age 4), and Rev. Joe Phillips.

By Kelsie Bowman/ Times Free Press

Aug. 10 update: "Blood, sweat and lemonade" by Alana Phillips


SODDY-DAISY, Tenn. (Aug. 5, 2015) -- When Joe and Alana Phillips noticed their daughter Tillery’s delays in development last fall, they took her to their pediatrician. After weeks of doctors’ appointments, an MRI finally revealed that, beneath those curly brown locks of hair, the 15-month-old had a brain tumor the size of a fist.

Thus began a whirlwind of neurosurgery — during which surgeons were able to remove 10 percent of the mass — bouts of chemotherapy and regular trips to a hospital in Cincinnati for its expertise in oncology and neurosurgery.

And soon, Tillery will begin a new cycle of chemo at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.

“We are blessed with a long-term prognosis;,” said Alana Phillips, explaining that the tumor is low-grade and low-aggressive. “[Tillery] will probably have the tumor, some amounts of it in her head, always.”

As pastor of Daisy United Methodist Church, Joe Phillips would travel back and forth from Cincinnati to Chattanooga to be at the pulpit for his congregation when the family had to be in Cincinnati for Tillery’s treatments, his wife said.


See complete story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press