Dan’s House of Hope (DHOH) provides a place to live, as well as programs and home-away-from-home services, for older adolescents and young adults, ages 15 to 39, who have cancer and are being treated at the Texas Medical Center. The organization’s mission is to “reduce isolation, decrease financial burden and nourish hope.”
Since its inception in April 2014, DHOH has provided free temporary housing near the Texas Medical Center to more than 300 patients and caregivers. This prevents patients from having to travel long distances for cancer treatments, which saves them money and allows them to continue to live their lives.
Guests of DHOH receive a bedroom and private bath, laundry facilities, a kitchen area and community space to promote interaction with other older adolescents and young adults with cancer. The grant from ASTRO helped pay the operating expenses for the organization in 2016, including the monthly mortgage, utilities and more than 1,000 breakfasts and hundreds of dinners for DHOH guests, says Roger Kenneavy, co-founder of Dan’s House of Hope.
“The biggest compliment we receive is when someone returns to DHOH after a long, stressful day at the hospital and tells us, ‘It feels like I’m coming home!’” said Kenneavy. “What a blessing to be able to walk into a warm, homey environment—as opposed to being isolated in a hotel or apartment—where others in our small community know and understand and accept you. Thank you ASTRO for helping to make that happen.”
Since receiving the Survivor Circle grant, DHOH also expanded its programming. Guests at DHOH can attend the young adult cancer support group the organization hosts every month, and participate in yoga classes, meditation therapy, guest speaker dinners and game nights.
“The ASTRO Survivor Circle Grant has helped to provide the physical and emotional support needed by so many who are in the fight of their lives—through a place to sleep, a meal to eat and the ability to spend time with a friend who understands their battle,” said Kenneavy.
Kenneavy’s son Dan, who died at age 20 of osteosarcoma in 2009, initiated the conversations and planning for what is now Dan’s House of Hope. While the organization bears the name of co-founders Roger and Dawn Kenneavy’s son, they say that its legacy is one that honors the lives and memories of all young adults, who have, are currently, or will battle cancer as young adults.
On the organization’s website, Roger and Dawn write about how Dan spent 408 days living away from home while receiving cancer treatment. Time away from home prevented him from receiving support from family and friends, because at 18, he was too old for most home-away-from-home programs for children and their families. He and his parents had the option of staying in a hospital room, an apartment or a hotel room near the hospital during his treatment, options which were often expensive and socially distancing.
“Through our own experiences and the experiences of families we met in our travels, we witnessed first-hand how depleting and heavy the emotional and financial burdens of living away from home can be in the pursuit of necessary treatments,” Roger and Dawn wrote on the website. “Dan’s House of Hope helps young adults fighting cancer heal through community, supportive programming and services that reduce isolation, decrease financial burdens and nourish hope.”
Applications for this year’s Survivor Circle grant are now being accepted. This year’s grant is open to cancer support organizations in California. 2017 recipients will be recognized this fall at ASTRO’s 59th Annual Meeting in San Diego. Completed applications must be received by April 3, 2017 for consideration.