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A Shelter for Cancer Families (ASCF)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Community Foundations, Homeless & Housing, Housing & Shelter, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Charity & Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: A Shelter for Cancer Families (ASCF) provides tangible support & housing creating a sanctuary where cancer families can heal together. In addition to the temporary housing we offer to out-of-town cancer families, ASCF also provides tangible support in the form of navigation services, visits & holiday celebrations to families affected by cancer in Houston.

Results: ASCF provides more than 1800 nights of free housing to cancer patients and their families as well as navigation and other tangible support services to these and other families in the Houston area EVERY YEAR.

Target demographics: Families affected by cancer regardless of age, income or cancer-type

Direct beneficiaries per year: Provide more than 1800 nights of free housing to out of town patients and families seeking cancer care in Houston.

Geographic areas served: Houston, Texas

Programs: Temporary Housing for out-of-town Cancer Families & Navigation Services for all Families affected by Cancer in the Houston area. In doing so, ASCF has created a sanctuary where cancer families can heal together.

Community Stories

53 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Just want to say thank you

Dear ASCF ,

I wish to thank you for the support and help you provided, during our stay at one of your facilities. For both my daughter and myself was a blessing to have such a nice place to stay and rest during my daughters post surgery recuperation time.
All this made our stay easier for me and Natalia, the apartment has a convenient location near the Medical Center. Both Missy and Volunteers are nice and helpful in providing for every need possible. Well organized, clean and includes all that you need to make your stay as comfortable as possible. I recommend this non-profit organization to anyone who needs a safe, comfortable,convenient and so well kept [lace during your medical needs.
thanks so much ,

Denise and Natalia























1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter had just been diagnosed with osteosarcoma and was in the midst of chemotherapy when my son relapsed with leukemia this summer. He had exhausted all treatment options in Ohio, which is where our family lives.

I was overwhelmed by our medical circumstances and found the prospect of travel to Houston after hurricane Harvey to be completely daunting. ASCF provided a home for us when hotels were scarce. A board member graciously met us after leasing hours with the keys, because our flight arrived late. With rental cars being in such demand after the hurricane, the free shuttle transportation to the hospitals was a godsend. ASCF helped us to navigate this part of a truly difficult journey.

We were so grateful, after long and stressful hospital days, to be able to come "home" and be together as a family. The kindness and compassion of everyone that we encountered helped us to relax, and focus on the tests and decisions that we had to make.

While everyone understands the enormous impact of direct medical costs in cancer treatment, the non-medical costs related to travel and having meals out are significant as well. ALCF provided us with free housing which is huge, but by providing a kitchen, this permitted our family to cook, which is both more home-like and economical. While living in another city for cancer treatment or a clinical trial that are not available at home, neither one is a small thing. We are enormously grateful.

Much love from the RamerNation!

1 Paige Gumm

Client Served

Rating: 5

ASCF has been a HUGE blessing to my family. My 9 year old son has been battling Osteosarcoma for 3 years now and we decided to move treatment and care to MD Anderson in March of this year. We live 4 hours away in East Texas and were driving back and forth and getting hotel rooms, which adds up quickly. Then we were introduced to the amazing Missy! Our angel, who offered us a place to stay with no cost to our family. Being able to have our own place to stay while we are here, keep our things so we don't have to travel back and forth with them weekly, having a place that feels like home...it's been a huge blessing and has taken some of the stress off of me. Both of my sons love being at the apartment and think that it's "super cool" we have a home here in Houston that has a pool!
I am forever thankful and grateful for ASCF and all that they do!! I don't know what we would do without them.
With great appreciation and gratitude,
Paige Gumm

1 Brian A. B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Damon was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma Bone Cancer January 31, 2014 at the tender age of 9. He had a massive tumor in his left arm in the humerus bone. One moment life is great, your child is just being a kid and then suddenly the next you find your child is suddenly thrust in a battle for his life. Such was our plight.

Damon became very astute quickly and sadly grew up and matured much too quickly. He went from wondering when he'd have time to ride his bike to wondering if his counts were even high enough for him to go outside. He immersed himself into understanding what was going on. He always wanted to be part of the conversation and be told directly what was happening. We never kept anything from him. He had a limb-salvage surgery to save his arm. He fought cancer hard for a year. On Jan. 31, 2015 he was declared cancer free. However, his reign of freedom would be short-lived as just 10 months later the cancer returned in his arm. This time, we would not be able to save his arm and to save his live, we had to amputate.

It was at this point his mother and I made the decision to move his treatment to M.D. Anderson in Houston. After much research, the choice to move was easy to make. However, the option to do so was not. It was not just a matter of how would the treatment go, it would be how in the world would be able to pull it off? We live in San Antonio (4 hours away), so any time he would go to the hospital they would have to stay in Houston, pay for gas to get there, etc. We were already drowning in a sea of bills from hospitals, doctors, etc. So we had no idea how we would pay for all this. Then....suddenly an Angel appeared in the form of Missy Bellinger from ASCF. She and her team at ASCF met with Lisa and Damon and immediately helped us by providing a place for them to stay whenever he receives treatment. This has turned into over a year now and we are still a ASCF family and they have still provided us a place to stay via a wonderful apartment (close by the hospital with shuttle service).

It's not just the apartment they provide. They give SO much more. Missy has attended doctor meetings with us to help us sort through treatment. Taken notes and transcribed them; they have taken Damon to places to help him forget about cancer, hospital, etc if even for a few hours. Their care, their love, their compassion to Damon, our family and the other families we have come in contact with can not be measured. We are not just recipients of their services, we are a family. We have met many of the other families they assist and together we have stopped being just one family dealing with cancer, now we are a HUGE family coming together to support each other.

Honestly, I don't know how we would have come this far without ASCF and Missy and their team. I don't make that general statement loosely. I honestly mean, I have no idea how we would have done it without them. Their love, support, care has allowed us to do the one thing we MUST do which is to focus on Damon and our family. There are many organizations out there; I know. But with ASCF team, it's not just a matter of holding our hand and helping us...it's a matter of lifting us up and relieving us. They are our 'Earthly Angels' and when we pray every night to God to lift the cancer from Damon and all other kids, we thank him for the people he placed in our path. I always say, this is certainly not a journey I would ever want to make....but God sure has made it interesting.

**SIDE NOTE**
I met a lady in Ireland via twitter when Chris Evans (a.k.a. Captain America) tweeted about Damon. Her sister was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, but the treatment in Ireland was not great. I helped her get into M.D. Anderson. She called and said they got in and would be there for a week and if I could make a recommendation on inexpensive hotels because they didn't have a lot of money. Instead of offering suggestions, I put her in contact with the ASCF. It wasn't easy, but in a matter of a day or two, the ASCF got her a place and put them up, thus saving them expenses and giving them peace of mind. That is an organization that cares!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This charity has served both me and my sister the both times her and i have needed to travel from northern Ireland to Houston for hospital appointments in mdAnderson cancer centre. Without this charity we both would have been so lost but due to the hard work and support from this charity they have served us both extremely well and we could not have done our journey with out them. Many thanks God bless

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Acca was diagnosed with lymph node cancer that was a metasizizedfrom head and neck cancer in Febuary
We came to MD Anderson for treatment
Went thru 3 courses of chemotherapy , 9hrs day plus Dr visits ,clinics ,Labs biopsies
More scans ,Dr visits ,
clinic
Scheduled for radiation Mask .
Starting 34 Days of head and neck Radiation
Loosing weight ,Radiation Burn
Tired ,soft diet to Liquid. Trying to keep from having a Feeding tube
Our stay at the hotels were very expensive also.having to eat out wasn't working due to radiation burn .tryjng to keep from feeding tube ,we can now cook & refrigerate soft & liquid meals
Having an Apartment lifted a major Burden off of us
We are very grateful for the Aschwand foundation & their extradinary work for cancer!
As we were going thru this journey talking to many cancer patients with like problems . We are very grateful for foundations that give to the care of patients themselves. We could not have gone thru this life changing disease without the foundations help
We are forever grateful
Missy was so thoughtful ,caring & efficient .We hope others will give so cancer pts and families may have Hope without being so burdened with expenses.
With Love ,Acca

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dear Melissa,
I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you did for me, my friends and my family while in Texas. I could NOT have had the open heart surgery without your help. I hope that you and your family are well.
Much love,
Jennifer Gardella

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

ASCF & Melissa Bellinger,
What a wonderful person God create!!
This mold cannot ever be replaced.
I truly appreciate the love and caring attitude that you friends and family showed to my sister during the difficult time of her illness and death.
Miriam's family would not be able to repay you even for the least of what you have done.
May God continue to bless and prosper this great organization.
With fondest regards to you and your family & friends.
Love, Estherleen

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I will forever be grateful for the ASCF. I travel from Fort Worth monthly for treatment of leiomyosarcoma. My daughter found the foundation online and contacted Missy who always have everything ready for us when we arrive. They definitely make this journey easier for me and my family. Im so thankful

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 16 yr old son was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma stage 4 in March 2016. He has gone his 54weeks chemo plan, including 25 sessions of radiation. We now need to travel from florida to TX several times to participate in a clinical trial. I was referred to Missy by a fellow fighter. I can't that I the both of them enough! Traveling especially for health care for sick child is extremely stressful! She lifted a lot of that burden by providing a lovely home and shuttles to and from the hospital. I can't thank you enough. We are actually looking forward to our next visit ❤️

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a patient travelling from out of state for my cancer treatment, I didn't realize how fast the expenses would start adding up. Unfortunately, these associated travel expenses are not covered by medical insurance and have to be paid out of pocket.
I found the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation through a search on the American Cancer Society website and submitted an application for housing assistance for a treatment visit to Houston. Fortunately for me, there was an apartment that had become available for the duration of my stay. I can't begin to express how wonderful it was for me to have a clean, safe, home-like environment to return to after each day's appointments wrapped up.
For me as a patient, finding Melissa and the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation was truly a blessing. There are definitely angels among us and this group of donors and volunteers are proof of their existence.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a blessing this organization is. Wonderful people to work with and took so much stress off of us during a very stressful time. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to afford to be out of state for a week or two while you receive the care you need. Having the apartment not only relieved financial stress but had such a sweet home type feel. Thank you for all you do. You are making a difference in people's lives.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

And then I got a phone call from the sweetest voice ever that flipped the script on our dreadful journey instantly like it was magic. This well spoken, delightful, compassionate Missy voice on the phone was offering her services with such joy in her tone that I could tell she was truly living her dream connecting herself with sarcoma families just like ours.
Melissa I cannot thank you enough for providing us with a second home during chemo and radiation

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ASCF is an example of how foundations can successfully power transformative change in the way research is done and patient care is advanced. My relationship with ASCF started when the foundation decided to fund "Chimera", the first sarcoma relational database at MDACC that enables users to search and identify patients for their research and also to add data back to one common platform that all investigators share. This effort is now being expanded institutionally for enhancing collaborations even outside of MDACC.

We have over 30,000 sarcoma patients on the database. This massive effort would not be possible without the help of ASCF.

4 Tejai H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

There are not enough words in the dictionary to put together to express how grateful I am to represent the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation. This foundation gave my grandmother hope. When we first realized my grandmothers new home for some months will be in Houston, TX; the first thought that came to my head was where is she going to stay. My grandmother then told me God works in mysterious ways, and she was blessed to stay at an apartment that the foundation offers to Sarcoma patients during their stay in Houston. I wasn't able to spend Christmas with my grams, but the foundation made it their destiny to make sure their residents felt at home during the holiday season.

I can go on and on and on and on and ON about all the good things this foundation has done for my family. Even up to now when we have to come to Houston for a weekend for grams scans, we have a place to stay. Its truly a blessing.

Thank You, The Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation.
WE ARE STRONGER THAN SARCOMA!!!!

3 Miriam10

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer foundation was a blessing to me and my family. The foundation gave me and my family a home outside of my home. Without the foundation I would not have been able to receive my treatment from MD Anderson. The foundation is NOT only a foundation, they made you feel loved and welcomed and became apart of my family. I highly recommend this foundation to anybody who is experiencing any type of Sarcoma cancer. With the foundation and its help, together we can defeat Sarcoma because together as a whole WE ARE STRONGER THAN SARCOMA.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I cannot ever say enough positive things about the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation (ASCF). The ASCF has been a tremendous asset for our sarcoma patients who have needed tangible support whether it has been housing, transportation, parking fees, food or social support. Many of our patients travel from out-of-state to receive care at MD Anderson. While they receive the best medical care for their sarcoma, most patients struggle with the financial burden secondary to the costs of medical care, hotels, gas, car rentals, and food, for themselves and in addition to their family members. Amschwand has always been willing to help when we have reached out to them with a patient's needs. For example, Amschwand was able to provide an apartment free of charge for an out-of-state patient during each cycle of chemotherapy. I know of another patient that they quickly moved the flight to an earlier day to expedite radiation therapy and provided them with an apartment for several weeks. The proximity of the apartments to the medical center has allowed the patients to take a shuttle to and from MD Anderson. Not only did this eliminate the financial stress for the patients, it also allowed the patient to have family members stay in the apartment. These scenarios are prime examples to point out that the members of the Amschwand Sarcoma Foundation have often visited the patients in the available apartments and accompanied them to their doctors visits so that they have the social support while their families may be back home. In addition to their financial and social support for individual patients, ASCF has provided large amounts of funds to go towards sarcoma research. With the ASCF's help, MD Anderson is able to continue our research to develop better treatment options for patients and to find a cure for sarcoma.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer for this fabulous foundation. I have experienced first hand the benefits and tangible support that patients have received. The apartments offered at no cost provide patients comfort, security, close proximity to MDACC, while lessening financial burdens. This foundation raises much money for research, which is phenomenal. Missy and the various board members and volunteers are very supportive to the patients and many form close bonds with them. It is so nice for the patients to feel like they have family here, as well as in their home towns. I am absolutely so proud to be associated with this first class foundation. I am honored to be part of it.

3 Dejka A.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation is an amazing organization that continues to help patients with sarcoma as well as provide much needed funding to advance the field of sarcoma. Recently my clinic contacted the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation to help out one of my patients from out of town who had limited resources. In a blink of an eye, this Foundation was able to provide my patient with an apartment to live in while she received radiation and helped with the cost of changing a plane ticket.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are most grateful for the housing accommodations during our stay for treatment at MD Anderson. We would recommend this program to other sarcoma patients and family members and we would absolutely participate in the program again. Would love to see more aids like railing in the showers and near the toilet if possible.

Fletcher family
Chandler, Texas