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Extreme makeover

BIC church creates a recovery room for a mother diagnosed with cancer

by Jeff Quick

In the few months since Andrea Collins was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, she’s undergone chemotherapy, radiation, and a double mastectomy. With a husband and six kids, ranging in age from one to 17, she’s also relied on community support to make it through.

Fortunately, Andrea has had plenty of that, including from her BIC church, Circle of Hope (Philadelphia, Pa.). Partnering with her non-Christian friends, who organized the project, Circle of Hope members helped to convert Andrea’s oldest son’s bedroom into a recovery room for her.

The room had its challenges. “There was a poster covering a hole in the wall, and there was nothing peaceful or serene about it,” says Shelley Crognale, a Circle member.

But, as Andrea reports, the end result was worthy of a home makeover show. “They transformed it from a standard 17-year-old’s room into a very beautiful bedroom. They painted it and put in a comfortable chair, beautiful curtains, and new bedding.”

Rachel Sensenig, another Circle member, describes the project as representative of the church’s broader vision for serving its urban neighbors: “We don’t come in like, ‘This is Circle of Hope!’ We come alongside what other people are already doing.”

This article originally appeared in the spring 2008 issue of In Part magazine.

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