Hundreds of students give personal touch to help cancer patients

CREATED Jan. 29, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - Hundreds of students from Milwaukee, Cedarburg, Wauwatosa and Brookfield are bringing hope to cancer patients.

The students are using a personal touch to bring a smile to the patients' faces.

Students lined up inside Milwaukee Lutheran High School to fill what are called "Bags of Hope."

A faith-based group called "Phil's Friends" is organizing the effort.

"Phil's friends was an organization that was started on my hospital bed in 2004 when I was going through cancer for the 2nd time," Phil Zielke told TODAY'S TMJ4's Melissa McCrady.

Nine years later, Zielke is in remission from Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

He travels the country to help those in similar situations by making thousands of care packages.

"When you're too sick to get off the couch, too sick to get out of the hospital, that card that comes in the mail when you can't have a visitor shows that you're not alone walking this journey."

On Tuesday, students from Wauwatosa's Our Redeemer School, Cedarburg's First Immanuel and Brookfield's Immanuel Lutheran gathered to help create those packages.

"It's really cool to see everyone work together and help people with cancer," explained 7th grader Lucas Gitzlaff.

"I knew someone who lost their battle with cancer, and it's nice to help other people who are going through that," said 7th grader Joe Jurss.

Those packages will be hand-delivered to bring hope to those who need it the most.

"It's hard to express how much it means when you're going through it."