Mary’s Journey of Hope

The PEC office has received a notice from Pine Grove UMC on Jonestown Road in Winston-Salem regarding a family from Ireland who is in Winston-Salem seeking medical attention for their daughter. Because of the expenses associated with living costs and medical expenses, Pine Grove is requesting financial help from anyone willing to help. If you are interested in helping  you may want to consider this cause. Should you have questions contact Sandy Waldon at or at 336-945-9620

maryPhilbinEight years ago, Irish teenager Mary Philbin was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which affects the throat and nose. She was just 19 and in her first year of college.

The aggressive course of radiation that Mary underwent in Ireland has also caused life threatening side effects. Her salivary glands were destroyed, and she can’t eat any solid food due to scar tissue in her throat. She has a condition similar to lockjaw and breathes with difficulty. Last July, she learned of another serious complication; liquid was seeping into her lungs. Treatment for that condition has caused new issues. Mary’s doctors in Ireland and England said they could do no more.

Through online research, Mary located Dr. Christopher Sullivan at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. Dr. Sullivan has performed several innovative nasopharyngeal surgeries and agreed to work with Mary. In November 2012, this young woman who turns 27 on March 20, traveled by ship from Ireland to the United States on a journey of hope. Ear damage from her previous treatments had prevented her from flying.

Mary and her mother, Eileen, are now living in a house – ironically called “Hope House” – provided by Pine Grove United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, NC, while Mary undergoes more treatments and medical care. Mary is slowly making progress, but her mother is concerned about the mounting medical bills. Over the years, the family’s savings have been depleted, and Eileen had to take an extended leave of absence from her job in Ireland to be by her daughter’s side. Though some fundraising has been done by friends and family back home, Eileen is on the verge of having to sell the family home in Ireland to pay existing and future medical and travel expenses.

The congregation of Pine Grove UMC is trying to help with their financial struggle so Mary and Eileen can concentrate on the medical issues. A website has been established where donations can be made directly to the family. Please, prayerfully, consider a donation today – large or small – through the website address below to this young woman who has fought so hard on her journey of hope. Every dollar helps! Donations can also be made by check to Pine Grove United Methodist Church, 1130 Jonestown Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27103. Please note on your check “Mary Philbin Fund.” or go to and to make a donation, please go to:

Let’s make this effort go viral to help this family in their time of need. Together, with God’s grace, WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
The Mary Philbin Journey of Hope Task Force

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