• Kelly Phillips and his dog, Sapphire, relax in Phillips’ houseboat at the Venice Marina Jan. 30. Phillips traversed the Mississippi River from Wisconsin to Venice after being given three months to live two years ago. Now he’s stuck in Venice with no p

Terminally ill river traveler arrives in Venice, but now what?

The Mississippi River has given Kelly Phillips a new lease on life. But leases come with bills, and Phillips isn’t sure how he’s going to pay them.

Phillips arrived in Plaquemines Parish Jan. 23 after a 20-month trip down the Mississippi in a rickety houseboat. Back in Wisconsin, where the trip began, Phillips’ doctors told him his sinus cancer had outpaced the radiation treatments he was receiving and predicted he had three months to live. The medical bills from his treatment had zapped whatever savings were left from his days as a business owner in New Jersey, and Phillips had no intention of just waiting around to die, so he bought his boat and set off to travel the length of the river with his last $241.

 

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Plaquemines Gazette

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