Multicultural News

Visionary for free clinic battles cancer; friends create fundraiser

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — One of the visionaries behind the Indiana University Student Outreach Clinic is in need after a diagnosis of bile duct cancer in April.

Friends have put out a call for help to raise $500,000 in a GoFundMe campaign.

Elizabeth Parker is the daughter of Jim Strietelmeier. He’s a pastor at Neighborhood Fellowship Church. Parker said the Saturday clinic in the church was a vision of her father. “What he always says is he prayed for the clinic for 12 years,” she said.

The free clinic at the church is in one of the city’s lowest-income communities. Most of the people who use the clinic’s services have incomes that put them below the poverty line. In the near-eastside community around East 10th and North Rural streets, 38% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Family members said Strietelmeier is so used to giving assistance that asking for help himself is a foreign idea.

“I guess, a month or so ago, he started turning yellow, and we were like ‘Dad, that doesn’t look good,'” Parker said.

He had gallstones. Further testing showed the uncommon form of bile duct cancer. The diagnosis was expected to create a few costly medical challenges, so friend Steven Hocker started a fundraiser.

“Jim is a wonderful example. No matter who you are, no matter what walk of life or business you serve in, that when we serve others with a true heart and intention,” Hocker said.

He says 30 years of dedication to service and ministry has impacted the community in positive ways. While Strietelmeier would never ask for help himself, Hocker said, he will. He hopes Indianapolis will step in as the good Samaritan.

“It’s up to us to be the ones who bandaged his wounds and care for him and his time of need,” Hocker said.

Strietelmeier’s daugther said any help from the public gives him a fighting chance to continue his work of warmth and love.

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