Albany woman, her church go above and beyond to give thanks

First Apostolic Church shows appreciation in the form of a feast on Wednesday at Phoebe. / Mary Green

Before 2017 turns to 2018, the ladies of First Apostolic Church needed to come to Phoebe.

"We remembered we had not shown our appreciation," church member Lillie Thomas said.

The way these women show appreciation is in the form of a feast, complete with ribs, chicken, turkey, ham, sides, desserts and everything in between.

But among them, no one is more thankful for the staff at Phoebe's radiation oncology department than Thomas.

"I went through my radiation from 2015 to almost 2016, and we've been doing this ever since," she said.

Thomas was diagnosed two years ago, when doctors found a lump in her right breast. They caught it early enough to make Thomas a survivor, which she said is especially thanks to her doctors at Phoebe.

But she and the First Apostolic women are the only ones who say thanks like this.

"Occasionally, someone will drop off a cake or pie or cookies. Those are always very nice," said Dr. Adam Jones, who was Thomas' doctor. "Ms. Lillie, however, brings catering for about 50."

Thomas never comes empty-handed or alone, arriving each time with a full spread and her church family. But then again, she's never been alone at Phoebe.

"They came with every treatment that I had to take. So that's just love, the love they gave me," she said.

It's a love she's passing on.

"I'll be glad to see everybody, knowing that I'm coming to give something," she said. "And not for them to — I'm not coming to be afraid."

Not anymore. Dr. Jones said they're hopeful Thomas' cancer is fully treated.

"When I took my mammogram last week, they said, 'I'll see you next year,'" Thomas said with a smile.

Of course they will — she'll need to say thanks.

"They go through a lot, and the treatment they give their patients is not only treatment — it's love," Thomas said. "And we could see the love that they give to the patients and that they gave to me."

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