I lived through the event most of us fear....hearing that diagnosis "you have cancer". After fighting that battle and being told i was cancer free I was blindsided to hear it a second time....eight years later! So many thoughts ran through my mind. I knew that this time if i was going to beat this i had to travel to Houston where the best treatments were available but being concerned with the financial ramifications i almost didn't do it! It was not until my son begged me "do all that you can to stay here with us, mom".....that i started looking for a way to gain access to the care here in Houston. Then, true divine intervention came in the form of "A Shelter for Cancer Families (ASCF)" They literally saved my life by allowing me to have a place to stay near the treatments i so, desperately needed! If it weren't for their generosity in providing a place to stay i would not have access to the life saving care. Not only that, my adult sons took turns coming to visit. They provided a way for my family to be together (which was healing in its own way). The vision, the mission and the service provided by these loving people is like nothing I've seen before. Thank you ASCF for saving my life....for providing the gift of time with my family and for all of the love!!! --Leese (from Honolulu, HI)
As a doctor who specializes in palliative care for pediatric cancer patients, A Shelter for Cancer Families is indispensable for many of the families I work with. There are innumerable stressors that families face when their child is diagnosed and is receiving treatment for cancer. The sense of security that comes with knowing they will have a "home away from home" makes an incredibly difficult and challenging situation just a bit easier. A Shelter for Cancer Families is true gift, and I cannot say enough good things about their organization. Top-notch, professional, compassionate.
Our family is no stranger to cancer.
Our family history is how we came to know about this wonderful organization.
My husband’s brother lost his battle with Osteosarcoma in 1971. At the time of his diagnosis, he was a star athlete for the University of Texas, a model student and a wonderful human being. He was seemingly cut down in the prime of his life, but he never lost his faith in God or family. After his diagnosis, he spent the remainder of his life as an advocate for cancer patients. He played a major role in the development of the American Cancer Society and was even honored by President Nixon.
In 2015, my husband’s brother, Freddie Joe Steinmark, was honored by A Shelter for Cancer Families at their annual Catwalk fundraiser. It was because of this fundraiser that we were introduced to this wonderful organization.
Like many families, we have lost several family members to this disease. Just on my husband’s side, we lost his brother, his father and his niece. In our experience, cancer is an relentless adversary that shows no mercy, so when my husband received his diagnosis in 2018, we were ready to go to battle.
Although we were ready for battle, we were scared, confused and lost. We went for second, third and fourth opinions, hoping that the next doctor would give us a better diagnosis. After seeking every opinion in Denver, we decided to get one more, so we packed our bags and headed to Houston to MD Anderson.
We reached out to Missy Bellinger as we had met her at the charity event. We asked her if she had any recommendations on doctors, or had any other thoughts, opinions or helpful tips she could give us. Missy listened to our situation, and simply replied, “I got you”. We had no idea the gravity of that statement until we got to Houston and she took us under A Shelter for Cancer Families and her wing.
She recommended a doctor, she offered to be there to help us navigate the hospital and the slew of appointments we had set with the oncologists. The navigation process was so helpful and was down to the last detail, she told us where to park, what elevator to get on. She met us at our appointment, took notes for us so we could just listen and digest the diagnosis and treatment options. Not only did she offer this unbelievable technical support, she offered unwavering emotional support to my family. Having a friend and advocate by your side in this scary, unknowing time is the greatest blessing anyone can ask for.
After discussing treatment with our doctor, it was explained to us that my husband was going to need at least three months of intensive chemo and would need to stay in Houston for the duration of the treatment. Our first thought was, how are we going to do this? I looked at Missy, and again without hesitation she said again, “we got you!”.
A Shelter for Cancer Families provided us with an apartment so my husband could receive his treatment. The apartment that we stayed in was a God send, not only for financial reasons, but it provided a home away from home. Financially, plain and simple, MD Anderson would not have been an option for my husband, if we would have had to figure out housing options for three months. We would not have been able to do this without A Shelter for Cancer Families, and for this we cannot thank them enough for taking that added stress away.
Apart from the financial, as I said, the apartment provided a home away from home. It gave us the convenience to be able to cook the foods that sounded good to Sammy when the chemo was so harsh on his taste buds and all he wanted was a home cooked meal. It allowed us to be comfortable, in such an uncomfortable situation and it gave us a sense of security.
A Shelter for Cancer Families provided an ambassador for every appointment for the duration of his treatment, which again was such a blessing, because after a while, the appointments blur together. It was so helpful to be able to go back and look at the diligent notes they kept for us.
A Shelter for Cancer Families provided so much more than just advocacy, they became our family. When your family is going through this and you truly don’t know if you are going to make it, it truly is the little things that count. A Shelter for Cancer Families went above and beyond, whether it was an Easter basket, a kind smile or hug. They are in this struggle with you, they love you, they pray with you, they support you, we looked forward to every visit.
We hope they know how grateful we are for their, “I got you”. That simple, “I got you”, got our family through this scary, confusing, difficult time.
We thank God for Missy and A Shelter for Cancer Families, they are a blessing for cancer families, and we are blessed to have them in our lives. We pray for everyone going through cancer every day and with a grateful heart, we pray for this organization that allowed us to receive the best treatment for Sammy’s cancer.
Thank you so much for your continued support, love and concern!
Karen (and Sammy) Steinmark
I can not say enough about the mission, drive, and importance of ASCF. Being a two-time cancer survivor myself, I know first hand the trials and tribulations of navagating a diagnosis & treatment. I am blessed to live less than 5 miles from MD Anderson and am heartbroken when I hear of the extra burden families in treatment endure by being removed from their homes and communities. The overwhelming expense of hotels and the daunting experience of navigating the whole process from diagnosis to treatment on your own. The expense of a diagnosis can be financially devastating and I am proud that so many families have been served by ASCF's generosity. The Navigator Program is essential to patients upon diagnosis and treatment and helps ease the overwhelming process of an illness by providing a support person to help navigate the patient and their family through doctor visits and treatment plans. ASCF provides tremendous support in all of those areas allowing the patient and their families to catch their breath and focus on health & healing. I am honored and proud to be a part of ASCF and the amazing people who have founded it and run it makes me certain that it will continue to support those in need and provide a ray of light and hope to a diagnosis & struggle.
When I first met Missy I knew nothing about Sarcoma at all but was onboard with whatever she needed because I was moved by her passion and immediate willingness to connect and help those who suffer from this cancer. She inspired me to get involved and her courage to dedicate time to help patients and families was inspiring. Little did I know that almost 5 years after meeting her I would be diagnosed with Sarcoma myself. I was blessed with knowing exactly who to call and ASCF was by my side every step of the way.
I am such a believer of this foundation and their message. Their message is clear and the help they provide to patients and their families is wonderful! I can not say enough good things about Missy, the board and those who support and are supported by ASCF. It is a "great nonprofit" and I urge everyone to became a part of it and share in the joy of helping others that Missy has taught me so well.
I suffered a relapse of my Ewing's sarcoma in May of 2019 after being cancer free for 13 years. Upon receiving the devastating news, I immediately contacted Missy from A Shelter for Cancer Families to seek many forms of guided help. As expected, I was in shock with the news and had no idea what I would need as I started the cancer journey all over again. She quickly came up to the hospital to serve as a navigator for my family. She and the ASCF team anticipated the greatest areas of need for our family and diligently created a plan of action to assist us. ASCF came up with #TeamNowell campaign which helped raise funds from the community to fulfill needs such as housekeeping, child care, grocery shopping, and lawn care. ASCF has gone over and beyond our expectations and has greatly lessen the financial and emotional burden that cancer causes. They have not only helped me as an individual by providing navigation services but also as a family with their assistance in grocery shopping and meal planning for our entire household. We are so grateful for their help and support during this season of life.
I am the Director of Marketing for Sienna by Johnson Development. The co-founder and much of the staff for A Shelter for Cancer Families live in the community, and this year, my team got behind their "Go Gold" effort to help generate awareness of childhood cancer. As a sponsor, I witnessed ASCF President + CEO Missy Bellinger taking calls from ASCF families who were learning more about loved one's diagnosis; those calls took immediate priority over anything else that was happening. I've seen the passion for the mission in action as our conference room was transformed into ASCF Go Gold merchandise headquarters, humming with volunteers + supporters. I've seen images of ASCF beneficiaries in display banners and social media, and read the touching comments of love and support from Missy and the staff. I've met ASCF families whose loved ones "found their healing in heaven." The work of this organization is profound and important, and the spirit of the volunteers is unstoppable.
After my sarcoma diagnosis, I was unsure what to do. My daughter contacted Missy at ASCF. Missy counseled me and made arrangements for me to see an oncologist at MD Anderson. She attended our first appointment, helped us navigate MDA, and took notes. Since that time, she had been an encourager. I feel God placed her in our life to help us deal with our difficult situation.
ASCF has been an absolute GODSEND for our family!!
My wife was diagnosed with lymphoma in August of 18 which shook our world!!
We were running through $1000 a week on hotels as we were told she would need to be at MD Anderson while going through treatment.
Long story short, ASCF made the IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE!! I was able to care for my wife while running our business remotely....We couldn’t have done it without them!!
From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!! You Guy’s are doing Gods work and have forever changed our lives! You took us in and celebrated every milestone with us! We Love All of you and can only hope we are in the position to help in the future!! We are forever grateful!!
John Austin & Elizabeth Tatum
I was looking forward to meeting ASCF team over Easter. I wanted to express my gratitude for their generosity, for the wonderful apartment that is just so welcoming and so close to MD Anderson, where I am treated for the pancreatic cancer. However, when they arrived with chocolate Easter eggs, girl scout cookies and Easter cards I felt speechless. So many emotions were going through my heart. Seeing the volunteers and especially children made me feel like I am close to my family again, as my grandchild and daughter live in Europe. I was overwhelmed and flooded with gratitude. Thank you ASCF. Natalya Goncharova
A Shelter for Cancer Families is the most amazing organization. We live in California and came to Houston so that my sister could receive treatment in a clinical trial. The apartment provided to us is amazing, and has everything we need for my sister's comfort. We feel so blessed to be here as living out of suitcases and going from hotel to hotel was very taxing. In addition to this beautiful home, we were visited by volunteers at Easter and received special treats. On Easter Sunday (my sister's 70th birthday) we got another visit from very caring volunteers with a birthday cake and presents!
To everyone involved in this organization, we send you our love and heartfelt thanks for giving us safe shelter!
Lesley Wilson and Natalya Goncharova
A Shelter for Cancer Families is a one-of-a kind foundation. As a physician in the Texas Medical Center, I have referred patients who are traveling from out-of-state to receive treatment for their cancers. It is a stressful time for them. ASCF offers a families a home away from home- a "shelter"- that does not look or feel like another hospital or hotel room. Jen and Missy and the staff are extremely personable, helpful, and will go out of their way to accommodate our patients. I can't say enough good things about the services that ASCF provides to guide and support our cancer families. Their model of care is unique and effective. Kudos to ASCF!
In the course of just 2 days our lives were turned upside down when my 4 year old grandson, Thomas, was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma. The treatment plan included photon radiation and chemo. My daughter and son-in-law did some in-depth research and discovered the benefits of Proton therapy. So, they decided to leave Colorado and head to Houston for an eight-week regiment of Proton therapy. What a confusing time! It was like stepping off a cliff and hoping that you'd learn to fly asap.
Of course, finding housing in Houston was an immediate need and I began to contact apartment complexes and charity organizations. We were incredibly grateful and relieved when Jen responded within just a few hours and we ended up moving into our apartment at the Equinox the next day! We were absolutely stunned when we walked in the door... the apartment was beautiful and so much more than we could have ever imagined. It is an amazingly warm and therapeutic space and we immediately felt at home. The Shelter for Cancer Families organization had thought of everything from "starter food" to games to books to artwork and more. On February 14 after an especially grueling day at the hospitals, we arrived home to a Valentine's day celebration! The apartment was decorated for the holiday and there were cards from area children, flowers, plates/napkins, and the most gorgeous cake that we had ever seen! The whole experience left us in tears.
Tomorrow is Thomas's final Proton Treatment that will include the ceremonial ringing-of-the-Gong, which is a lovely tradition at the Proton Center. And guess who is going to be there to help us celebrate?? yep, Jen and a crew of her volunteers! What an incredibly thoughtful way to honor Thomas!
In a couple of days we will begin the long journe back to Colorado. And, we will be leaving Houston a little bit wiser and stronger for what is still to come. We can't thank Jen and the Shelter for Cancer Families enough for caring for us during this stressful time. They absolutely have helped to give us the wings that we'll need for the next part of our journey. Thank you from the bottom of hearts!!
Just a few words of thanks to you (Jen Berko) and A Shelter for Cancer Families for the beautiful and upscale apartment you provided for us during our crucial time of need. It is absolutely beautiful, much more than we imagined or expected!
The living area is spacious and comfortable. We leave the blinds open all day just to look over the beautiful pool. Reminds me of a resort hotel! Hopefully, we’ll get to use it in April. I’m enjoying the convenient office area fitted for me. And, although I never leave home without my Holy Bible and inspirational books, I find there is a great selection of encouraging literature right at the tip of my hands! Albert takes his “blanket” to hospital, too. Keeps him warm all day!
It gives me pleasure to look over the great artwork of children who have stayed here before us. The dining room area is enjoyed with every meal. Didn’t want to scratch the table more, so I placed a tablecloth over it. That’s our favorite meeting place.
The kitchen area is absolutely gorgeous! I’m enjoying preparing meals for Albert, as he can’t seem to develop a taste for fast food, yet. And, I’m making him soft foods that he can swallow without too much pain. The fridge is perfect size and I bought enough food for 2 months only. Thanks to the foods left in the fridge and pantry, we don’t have to buy much.
So glad to have a washer and dryer! Although, I didn’t mind, other lodging places have laundry rooms outside of apartment for the use of all residents. We often wait in line to do our laundry. It’s so convenient here! And, thank you for soaps and softeners provided. We usually bring our own linens, towels and sheets, so others can enjoy the ones you provide.
Albert is enjoying the beautiful bedroom. I sleep on the couch wherever we go, so as not to disturb his sleep. I check on him often to make sure he’s still breathing, as that becomes a problem with throat cancer. And, the closets are spacious enough for all our garments and suitcases. We decided not to unpack everything. Our stay is so short wherever we go. So, we’re kind of living out of our suitcases. We’re just glad to have such a great place to stay.
I just started using the fitness center this week. We’d been so busy with treatments and other medical appointments. His last treatment is Saturday. At my age, I can’t do too much exercising. I’ve had rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders, knee cartilage surgery on both knees and surgery for a broken arm. So, I can’t use treadmill, anymore. But, I can use the stationery bike for about an hour daily. I get to relax from all the stress, exercise to help my joints and muscles, and pray over all the worry, fears and concerns. I feel humbled and so richly blessed! The shower and bathroom are so appealing! Relaxing & enjoyable! Enjoying all the toiletries provided.
Covered parking is great! Albert walks for exercise. But, he takes the complex map to find his way back. It’s an absolute maze! We laugh about it all the time. He carries his phone just in case he gets lost. I do too. Thank you for all your help and support! And, making our stay in Houston a lot more pleasant.
But, your help didn’t start there. It began with our application to ASFC. Your responded with an offer to serve as a navigator for us. Being new to cancer treatment, we didn’t know how navigation worked. Jen, you approached us in a special kind of way that made us trust and feel comfortable with you. It was as though we had just found a great new friend! Your explanation of how navigation works seemed most appropriate for us. First, you wanted to know all about our journey with cancer, the diagnosis, and treatment plan. With this information in hand, you became a participant in our meetings with all our doctors. You listened intently and took great notes. With your expertise, you asked the proper questions. Sometimes, questions that we had overlooked or not even thought of! You were assertive but respectful to the medical staff at all times. I was delighted to hear the fast tapping of your fingers on the keyboard. I knew you were a highly skilled professional! I was overwhelmed with the final transcription and reports you sent me by email. Your notes were literally verbatim! And, I shared them with my daughters who are out of town. Your reports gave them a better understanding of the medical procedures and treatment plan. They couldn’t be thankful enough! I kept them for record keeping. I felt no need for my personal tape recorder, anymore! Your note taking was better! ASFC provides a service that is absolutely necessary to cancer patients and their families. It helps make the whole tragic process just a little easier. I highly recommend navigation to everyone!
God bless every one of you at ASFC for your outstanding work and compassion. I pray that your organization will receive 100-fold blessings, financial support and funding to continue to help other cancer patients and their families. Thank you for a great job! From our hearts to yours with love – Janie & Albert Montez
ASCF has been a Godsend for my husband and me. My husband was diagnosed with myelofibrosis and needed a bone marrow transplant. We live more than 200 miles from Houston. We desperately needed to find a place to stay as his treatment required staying in Houston and close to MDA for more than 4 months. We contacted ASCF through the internet and received a quick response from Jennifer. She is a gift! We could not have found a better organization to help put our minds at ease at such a difficult time. ASCF has helped us in so many ways. Their heartfelt concern, love and assistance has been never ending and we will always be grateful to them. This is truly an outstanding organization! We are blessed to have their help and to be touched by so many loving souls.
I was given the opportunity to connect a friend’s family to ASFCF when they were headed into MD Anderson for what they thought would be treatment for a tumor in their 2yr old that had not responded to treatment out of town where they live. I called Jen and she stepped into action. This is the last text I received from the friend. Thank you all!!
I was diagnose with Aggressive Fibromatosis in my abdomen in 2016. I was seeing a doctor in our home state of South Carolina, that wasn't treating my cancer the way that the research was saying it should be treated. I had a friend who's son was seeing an oncologist at Texas Children's Hospital at the time, so I reached out to her. After a nice talk, she got me in touch with Missy (CEO and Founder of ASCF). After sharing my concerns and my cancer information with her, she got in touch with a friend and found me a doctor, without me even having to worry about it. Once I had set up my appointments, I realized we would be driving a thousand miles away to see a Sarcoma Oncologist and we would need to stay for a week. Missy helped me fill out the paperwork and accepted me, my husband, our daughters, and my grandmother to stay in one of the foundations apartments. After our long drive, we arrived at the apartment and it was beautiful! Nothing big or extravagant, but perfect for our family to stay in for the week. We had plenty of room for the five of us. Missy was amazing and made herself available for any questions or help that we needed. She told us where to find the best brisket and where the nearest stores were. We have been blessed to get to know her and Jen, now. We love them like our own family and have been so blessed to have them in our lives. We are so blessed to have such amazing people and wonderful foundation help us during this tough time. It has been almost two years (coming up this February) and we still can't thank them enough for all they do for us. We have a stay coming up in March and as always, we look forward to seeing them and staying in the apartment. They truly are a blessing to the cancer community! We love them and appreciate all their hard work and support that they have done for us to be able to stay through the foundation.
I don't even know where to begin . . . .My daughter-in-law of three years was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that had taken us two years to diagnose. We/They headed to MD Anderson as fast as we could. She began treatments every other week so that meant they were commuting 7 hours every other week and staying 3-4 days. My husband and I were able to help with hotel bills, but we could see that we would eventually need to find a place for them to stay on a more permanent basis. That time came much sooner than we thought. At our last visit, they said she would need to be there every week because the additional treatment they were going to administer, would be weekly and would make her very ill.
Through nothing other than answered prayer, friends came forward and told us about this incredible organization. I have volunteered for many organizations and actually worked at two non-profits in my city (Abilene, Texas) but I have never seen anything like this. The staff is so dedicated and so unbelievably kind. Missy and Jen along with a board member from ASCF came to our rescue, took our numerous calls and emails with a welcoming, warmth that I have never experienced anywhere else.
My "kids" are there now. (late 30's) They said the apartment is so nice and truly feels like a home. It is clean but not sterile. We couldn't have asked for more and as I said before, we thank God for these wonderful people everyday.
ASCF gave us that sense of feeling at home; which is essential during difficult times. The apartment was clean, comfortable and the welcome bag was such a thoughtful gift.
We unexpectedly had to stay longer than anticipated, and ASCF (specifically Jen) was so amazing in working it out for us to stay longer. Her kindness and understanding meant a lot to us. Traveling to Houston had a significant financial impact on our family, so being able to not worry about housing was a HUGE relief! Thank you ASCF for making our difficult stay easier.
I had to travel to Houston for medical care, which was an unfamiliar big city to me. Besides the usual stress of finding the way around a bustling city, I had to deal with the fact that I was sick. In a time like that, a person desires comfort of things like home as well as assistance about the community. ASCF provided all of this to me and was beyond accommodating. The apartment was well decorated and stocked with some “extras” including essentials I thought I would have to go to the store to buy. Everything was clean and decorated with personal touches. Parking was very easy and not far. When I needed to communicate some details with ASCF, they (Jen) were very easy to reach. Thank you so much for providing myself and my caretaker with a place to stay while we visited MD Anderson. The heartfelt generousity of this organization will never be forgotten by myself and my family. I hope ASCF is able to continue serving those who need this service.
A Shelter for Cancer Families is one of a kind. No other foundation offers complimentary housing, complimentary navigation (note taking at doctor appointments), and complimentary celebrations for cancer families. I was first drawn into the foundation as a volunteer and later as the manager of cancer families and media relations.
I began volunteering for ASCF on a regular basis when I saw that this foundation provided complimentary housing in the Texas Medical Center. My mother-in-law battled cancer and refused to leave her home in Long Island, New York to travel to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The trip was just too much for her while she was sick. It was devastating to our family. When she passed away our family was left with "what if's". If a foundation like ASCF had provided complimentary housing to our family, who knows what kind of treatment she would have had access to. In her honor I serve A Shelter for Cancer Families.
After volunteering for ASCF for several years, I was asked to join the foundation full time. I truly believe I was meant for this service. Every single day I honor my mother-in-law by helping cancer families; not just patients. If my mother-in-law had the services we provide she would have had a place to stay with her family, access to the very best care, loving volunteers to celebrate the holidays with her, a navigator to take notes so that she could easily share her treatment journey with her family, and most of all she would have had tangible and meaningful support during her darkest times. Every person deserves dignity and support while battling cancer. A Shelter for Cancer Families provides just that. I am proud to serve each and every day through A Shelter for Cancer Families and I highly recommend this foundation.
A Shelter for Cancer Families
Manager of Cancer Families & Media Relations
The ASCF apartment is beautiful, along with the amenities in and out of the apartment. Everything you would need to live comfortably is provided. The swimming pool/jacuzzi/lounge/ bbq area was awesome!! The gym is open 24hrs along with the rec Center with pool table, TVs, sitting area and free coffee/tea.
This non profit organization blesses families with these apartments and the families should maintain it better. In my apartment the sofas were so dirty with food and drink stains, as if they just wiped their hands on them, I couldn’t even sit on them. The dining room chairs cushions were just as bad , if not worse. Underneath the sofas and bed there was trash like it was never swept. These are messes made by the families NOT by ASCF.
Families when you are given a gift, you cherish, appreciate and take care of it, so others can do the same. I give ASCF 5 stars cause I could see the love behind their gift inspite of the irresponsibility of some families. Thank you ASCF for your gracious gift.
When we found out that my 10 year old had relapsed with osteosarcoma wey were devastated. We had to leave our home 6 hours away to come get new treatment that required us to stay in the area. This put so much stress on Victor and our family since we knew we had to come back to living in hotels, checking in and out constantly, packing and moving our stuff from one place to another. We found out about this amazing organization ASCF and couldn't believe what I was reading. We applied a day before we left home and we received the unexpected phone call from Jennifer that she could get us into an apartment the same day. Wow!! "What a relief" is short for what we actually felt. My husband, younger son and myself were all sleeping in the same couch at the hospital because we couldn't afford a hotel. We received more than expected and Jennifer made sure we had everything we needed. She went above and beyond explaining what they are here for and how they can help us in any way possible. This place is amazing because we can actually take the shuttle and save us $12 per day in hospital parking. I am able to cook homemade food per my son's request and keep a well balanced diet instead of surviving on fast food like before. This truly is more than a blessing for our family because we can be at peace while our son receives treatment and that is a very important part in this journey. Victor is more than happy and even though he is going through intensive chemotherapy for the second time within a year, he says he loves it here and is happy to be here. We can gladly say this place is more than a home away from home. Thank you ASCF and for all who contribute to make this possible for our family and many other families in need. You have no idea how grateful we are for this organization and we hope it continues for many more decades with the help of those who donate to make this possible.
A Shelter for Cancer Families was truly a blessing for my situation. I am very fortunate in the sense that my cancer has left me capable of taking care of myself. I don’t have the constant need for a caregiver to look after me and help me with my daily activities. Unfortunately, most of the housing available for cancer patients requires you to have a caregiver with you 24/7 in order to stay at their facilities. As I began going down the list of options on Joe’s List, my options were quickly reduced from many to very few.
I applied to the few organizations that would allow me to, but unfortunately no one had space and I was placed on waiting lists for those few groups. I would be driving nearly 1,600 miles to Houston and spending over two months away from home and I still didn’t have housing secured for my stay during treatment.
I managed to get a reduced cost hotel room through the American Cancer Society, but I only had a room on a weekly basis and had the possibility that I would have to change hotels each week. My treatments at the MD Anderson Proton Center were going to take 8 weeks, and I knew changing hotels was going to get tiring soon. They were also not able to offer the discounted rooms for the entirety of my treatments, leaving me on my own for the remaining few weeks of my schedule.
Fortunately, after two weeks of hotel life, I received a phone call from Melissa at ASCF letting me know that they had an opening and I could get into the apartment immediately. I cannot describe the amount of stress and anxiety that disappeared when I received that phone call. I was no longer burdened with having to pack up my stuff into a rental car to move every weekend. I could buy more than just a week’s worth of groceries at a time without worrying about throwing out everything in the refrigerator at the end of the week. I also had the security of a gated community with limited access to the apartments when I came back from my daily treatments. I would now be only a few minutes away from the Proton Center and no longer had to make the daily commute from Katy, Sugarland, or wherever I would end up before.
This organization takes steps to ensure the patients and their families staying in the ASCF apartments feel at home during their time in Houston. Any issues that came up with the apartment were quickly handled through Jennifer and the building management. The ASCF volunteers sacrifice their own time to help their guests celebrate the major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even though I was by myself in the apartment, I never felt like I was on my own. I never took advantage of the Patient Navigators available to me during my stay, but I appreciated the knowledge that they were there and available if needed.
When I was first diagnosed with my cancer I was completely blindsided and overwhelmed. Knowing that there are organizations such as ASCF helping patients get through such an extremely difficult experience gives me an amazing amount of hope moving forward as a cancer survivor. As I stated before, ASCF was a blessing for me and deserve a great amount of support to continue providing aid to other survivors and their families.
I was so blessed to find ASCF. Not only did they provide us with housing, but the navigator program is amazing. A Shelter for Cancer Families was so thorough and at a VERY hard time in our lives made the process much easier. I especially am thankful for the great questions and note-taking during the appointments because it is an easy way to share information with family. The housing had everything we needed and the support made healing much more hopeful.
ASCF has made it more financially feasible to continue my quarterly screenings by returning to Houston within the very important two year window post treatments, after moving to Illinois. I was miraculously declared well on Friday, May 13th, 2016 after receiving my cancer treatments at MDA in Houston where I was very fortunate to live. I received screenings every three months as part of my follow up plan. When a year and half into those follow up appointments, my husband received a job offer in Illinois after being out of work for 4 years (a blessing in some regard as he could take care of me and our son who was 2 years old at the time that I was diagnosed), I was concerned about where I would receive checkups during that delicate two year post treatment window. Traveling from Illinois was not going to be cheap, and after my husband's unemployment for so long, and my unemployment during treatment, I worried about the financial hits of traveling to Houston, yet also felt uncomfortable not continuing my care with my MDA team in Houston at least for that two year window. Missy Bellinger is truly an angel, and since moving in October 2017, has provided generous assistance to fund my flights to Houston so that I can receive my checkups at MDA and receive peace of mind, which is truly the greatest gift of all. Thank you Missy for all you do! How lucky and blessed you are to have such a clear calling. You create an incredible comforting impact to individuals' and families' lives which get turned upside down. I pray for the day when your job is done because, in large part due to your efforts and other organizations like ASCF, this disease is no more.
It never crossed my mind that we had to leave our beloved island, Puerto Rico, to receive medical treatment for any reason. But, one day before Hurricane Maria hit our island, my husband was diagnosed with Soft Tissue Sarcoma . After the scourge of the hurricane, everything was devastated on our island. There were no essential services such as water, power or communication. There was no access to specialized medical services or studies. So there was no other option than to leave the island, hoping to get adequate treatment for his condition. It is very stressful to have to deal with a cancer diagnosis, not have medical insurance to cover the treatment in the United States and as if it was not enough, have to pay for a safe place to stay. And all this at the same time. But an angel sent by God, contacted us with Missy Bellinger who welcomed us from the first moment. When we learned that housing was free of charge, we could not believe it. It was great relief. It has been a great blessing to be able to count on their support. One of the most important things about ASCF is that you are able to stay with your family and also, your friends are welcome to visit and stay with you. In addition, it has a group of exceptional volunteers that make you feel at home. Since we are here, we have never felt alone, helpless or burdened. It is not simply the structure that shelters you, but the arms that wrap you when you need it most. The people of ASCF celebrate with you every special occasion and every important date. And not only do they provide care to the patient, but also to their entire family. God bless these special people for us and for all the families that they have helped for so long.
A Shelter for Cancer Families has generously offered us housing twice over the past 3 months as we travelled to Houston from New England for my son's osteosarcoma treatments. Many thanks to Missy Bellinger and her teams for their help and hospitality during our travels.
If not for this organization, we would have had to stop coming to M.D. Anderson long ago. Now into her fifth year of the fight and every three months return.
We have been the fortunate recipients of the service this organization provides. Without them, I honestly do not know how we could have managed to be together during my wife's surgeries in Houston for a rare sarcoma. Traveling from Tn is quite an expense but not having to add housing to the travel was not only a financial blessing but also a stress relieving blessing for both my wife and I. The housing has been wonderful and the staff at the apt complex super. The main contact we have had at AMSCHWAND, Melissa Ballinger, has been great in communications and more than just helpful but really goes the extra mile.
Thanks to Missy and ASCF foundation we were able to have a home away from home. What a wonderful and generous gift to families traveling from out of town to receive care at MD Anderson. By offering a clean and welcoming apartment free of charge is truly a gift when juggling the cost of travel and medical bills. The apartment is fully stocked with kitchenware such as plates, utensils, pots/pans, and paper goods along with a washer and dryer. It is located near the Med Center and has a free shuttle to transport you there. The apartment complex even has a gym, pool, and amazing outdoor seating area. Granted, it snowed when we were there so we could not take advantage of the cool (both literally and figuratively) outdoor amenities, but it was great for a photo opportunity because it is not often one sees snow in TX on pool chairs, umbrella, and palm trees. :) We felt the freezing temps were a positive sign since I had a successful cryoablation procedure where they froze the tumor. :).
I would highly recommend ASCF for anyone traveling to Houston for treatment. Missy and ASCF will take special care of you and your family. Truly a gem!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! ~The Rayner Family
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
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!
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,
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.
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!!!
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
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 ,
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
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.
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.
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
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 ❤️
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.
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.
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
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.
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!!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My son and I traveled from Kansas city to md anderson in Houston. I emailed this organization and Missy immediately got back with me. In less than 24 hours we are now in an apartment. Thank you so much. You just made are trip less stressful
This is our 3rd week in Houston. Thank you again to this organization. Having a wonderful place to stay has made this so much easier. Thank you!!!!!
If there was someway I could give these folks more than 5 stars, I sure would!
Missy has been so helpful to my family during the last 11 months. I reside in Iowa and was fortunate to be referred to MD Anderson and Houston Methodist for treatment of my Cardiac Angiosarcoma.
She helped arrange lodging in one of the Amschwand Sarcoma Foundation apartments not once, but two different times as both times were for over 1 week, hotels would have costed us a small fortune and would have forced to dine out for basically all of our meals.
Having the Amschwand Sarcoma Foundation to lean on (so to speak) was such a relief and allowed us to focus mainly on my treatment and recovery after open heart surgery to remove my Cardiac Angiosarcoma.
God Bless Missy and the entire crew at the Amschwand Sarcoma Foundation!
Someday I hope to be able to pay if forward to people in my same position and in the meantime I just wanted to let everyone know how helpful this organization is.
After being diagnosed with Cardiac Angiosarcoma on 10/14/15 alot has been going through my head, especially having 2 young daughters, a wife who was determined to be by my side and how to maintain and continue to provide despite being ill.
The last thing I wanted to do was drain our savings account on hotels to sleep at night while we spent the majority of our time at MD Anderson Cancer center getting outpatient tests, scans, lab work, etc done.
Through the help of the American Cancer Society they gave me some options based on my diagnosis to help with lodging.
Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer foundation has been a huge help with providing my wife & I with free lodging during this time of uncertainty.
I sent in a email and some paperwork to Missy and she called back a few days later and was a complete ray of sunshine coming through during a very cloudy period of time for us.
She was quick to help us and so accommodating to keep things simple and hassle free.
Thank you very much to the entire Amschwand Sarcoma cancer team and Missy!
Once again this fabulous foundation has helped us during a difficult time. This was my husband's fourth time battling sarcoma and sixth surgery. We were blessed with an available apartment again. It greatly helps being very close to the hospital, so we can have a short vehicle ride without him being uncomfortable for too long. The apartment staff are always welcoming, and the apartment itself feels like home every time. It's wonderful having some security and comfort during difficult times. Missy and her foundation are truly amazing for all they do!
The Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation is such an amazing blessing for those going through a difficult and stressful time.
My husband Matthew's undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma came back in January 2014, after being in remission for almost a year. This was difficult news for us. Through a friend, we were given Missy's information and were very quickly blessed with an apartment! There aren't enough words to write our gratitude for being able to stay in a home like setting, nearby MDA, and in a safe wonderful apartment.
Being able to not worry about stairs was a major issue, as he was in a wheelchair for a long time. Every time we came up for appointments, tests, or surgeries, Missy always responded very professionally and promptly.
Matthew went into remission in February 2015, but his cancer returned last month (Sept). Knowing there is a place we can stay and he can recover nearby, especially with numerous follow up appts after surgery, is such a major weight lifted off of our shoulders.
This amazing foundation has touched so many people and families, giving them comfort when it is needed most.
My two boys and I had the opportunity to receive housing during Christmas time. The volunteers went above and beyond with making us feel special during the holidays. We are extremely grateful for the outpouring support and providing us with a comfortable place to stay.
Our 8 year old son was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma in his distal femur in August 2015. We live in Dallas but needed to go to Houston to save his leg. He had limb salvage surgery in December 2015. The Amschwand Foundation not only provided housing to our family during the week of surgery, but since the surgery was on the first day of Hanukkah, the foundation reached out to friends in Houston and people from the community helped decorate the apartment for Hanukkah, provided a traditional Hanukkah meal, stocked the kitchen for the week, and provided Hanukkah gifts for both of our children for the 8 nights of Hanukkah as well as gifts for my husband and me. We are so thankful and feel so blessed that we connected with this amazing foundation that is so focused on helping families with Sarcoma and helping fund research. Thank you Missy!
I met this wonderful foundation's namesake, Tom Amschwand, when we were both starting our cancer treament at MD Anderson. I have had the privilege of watching the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation from it's humble beginnings to now - with all of its bright and stellar accompishments. Tom is no doubt smiling down from above with great pride. xoxo
My 3 month old baby boy was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma. After 10 weeks of chemo treatment, his tumor began to grow again. We were given 2 days to be at MD Anderson from Columbia, South Carolina. I contacted Missy and she was able to get us a room on extremely short notice. We ended up staying in Houston for two months. During that two months, Missy with Amschwand had been more than accommodating. Without her, we would have been stuck scrambling to find a place to stay for two months and probably several thousand dollars that we didn't have in rent and utilities. I am extremely thankful for her and it was a pleasure getting to know her. We still maintain contact and she is always asking how my son is doing.
Recently, a gentleman who has been battling osteosarcoma, the most common form of malignant bone cancer, traveled from Utah to participate in a Phase 1 trial using GD2-specific T cell immunotherapy to try to combat his disease, which has been persistent and refractory to standard therapy. As the principal investigator for this trial, I have kept in close communication with both him and his wife. They have expressed to me that they are eternally grateful to the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation for providing housing to them while they were far away from home for several weeks as he received his treatment here. They have told me on many occasions specifically how personable, caring, and attentive Missy was to them while they were in Houston. Having a home away from home which is close to the Texas Medical Center provided comfort to them and made the whole experience much less stressful.
Today is a celebration of the life of our daughter, mother, sister and loved one, Chas. In January 2009, sarcoma cancer claimed the life of our beautiful Chas. It seems like yesterday we were preparing for the arrival of our first grandbaby when we learned that our daughter Chas had cancer...even worse, an aggressive sarcoma cancer. Chas just beginning a life with Jacob, being pregnant and learning of the diagnosis of sarcoma, the family went into high gear seeking treatment options from a team of doctors who not only had experience in treating sarcoma but with very pregnant patients. While doing research, Dusty (Chas' brother) coordinated with Missy from the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation and before we knew it, we were in Houston staying in an apartment provided by the charity at no cost to us. After Chas delivered Caleb, that apartment would be the first place the new family would call home (even if only temporarily). It would be where Caleb would spend his first Thanksgiving and Christmas and his only Thanksgiving and Christmas with his Mom. Those months were difficult but not without blessings. The Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation provided us with a home away from home at the most vulnerable time in our lives. Their volunteers brought holiday meals to our family and even gifts for Christmas. We remain forever grateful to the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation for the priceless gift to our family. For this reason, in celebration of what would be Chas' 30th birthday, we are establishing a memorial fund in her name. We ask that each of you consider making a gift to this amazing organization so that they may continue their work of serving families affected by sarcoma cancer and ultimately finding a cure.
Neil, Becky & Dusty Russell
Role - Nurse
Rating - 5 stars
As a nurse in the Texas Medical Center, I can't stress enough the need for temporary housing for patients and families who come to us from all over the world seeking specialized care. Sarcoma patients are no exception. In fact, few sarcoma patients can get the care they need outside of a high volume sarcoma center. This means travel and lodging which is not typically covered by insurance. For years, I have turned to the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation to help patients needing housing assistance. The organization has been a blessing to many of my patients and I know so many others. Thank you to the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation for being such a tremendous resource to those in need.
The Amschwand sarcoma cancer foundation is a wonderful resource for the patients at MD Anderson. Many patients are from another state or another country and have financial difficulty staying in the Houston area for their treatment. One of the many wonderful things about this foundation is that they work to provide patient housing in the Texas Medical Center free of charge to cancer patients. This foundation is run by so many caring and compassionate individuals who dedicate their time, energy and resources to helping touch the lives of as many sarcoma cancer patients as they can.
I don't feel I even have the words to express my appreciation for ASCF. After being diagnosed with an extremely rare tumor in my chest that required the expertise of the professionals in the Sarcoma Center at MD Anderson, The Amschwand Sarcoma Foundation was a Godsend. Anyone dealing with a serious medical diagnosis knows how costly it is, and even more so when a diagnosis requires you to travel for answers. The apartment that I was blessed to be a recipient of did not only take that additional financial burden off of my shoulders, but it was a very comforting place to be. There was inspirational artwork, painted by children, on the walls, the apartment is bright and welcoming, and it is conveniently close to MD Anderson. A nonprofit that helps with this immediate need of the patient is beyond necessary. I wish there were more organizations like this one. It made a very real and meaningful difference for myself and my family. Thank you, ASCF.
A few months ago, I had pain and a lump in my right hip which quickly escalated to the point where I lost ability to walk. In January of 2015, I was diagnosed with a large spindle-cell sarcoma the size of a "small baby" wrapped around my hip joint. I was immediately referred to MD Anderson and within a short time began receiving treatment. My specific treatment plan requires me to be in Houston six days each time I go. My first scheduled session happened to fall the week the Houston Rodeo takes place. It was impossible to find a hotel room anywhere nearby, so I ended up taking treatment in the hospital instead. This obstacle of not finding an available hotel room was a blessing in disguise because our frantic search led us to discover the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation.
My next two rounds of treatment I was able to stay at an apartment located very close to the medical center, provided by the ASCF. The apartments feel like home, fully furnished with even some canned goods in the pantry. Any time someone undergoes a medical crisis such as what I found myself in, there are many extra expenses that pop up everywhere that can strain your finances-- and even with the medical discount rate, hotel bills can be very costly. What a huge, huge blessing to be able to stay at a nice, comfortable place, so nearby the med center and free of charge!
I've not met Missy Bellinger-- we've only spoken by phone, but she is one of the kindest, sweetest and most helpful people you'll ever know. You can tell the individuals of Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation truly care about people! We appreciate them so much.
-- Lynette Zeller
In 2014 when my undifferentiated spindle cell sarcoma returned, doctors at MD Anderson gave us 2 weeks to pack up and move from Helena, Alabama to Houston, Texas! Did I mention that those 2 weeks were just prior to Thanksgiving? Within a period of about 10 days, the Amschwand Sarcoma Foundation responded to our request for temporary housing--we were provided with a furnished apartment less than a mile from the hospital! What a blessing! Our stay continued through Christmas and into the New Year. How surprised we were when Missy called from the Foundation to let us know that members of the board were bringing over gifts and food on Christmas Eve! What a pleasure to meet and have Christmas fellowship with the very persons involved with providing our temporary home in Houston! Thank you so much for these and all of the other kindnesses that were extended to us while we were in treatment at MD Anderson! God bless our new friends and family in Texas! We will forever cherish our memories of our stay in Houston thanks to the Amschwand Sarcoma Foundation. Many, many thanks from Tom & Amy, Charlie Anne, Davis, Mary Katherine, and Wilson Grimes
I was blessed to find this great organization that provides housing during my stay in Houston. What a relief for my family to know I was staying in a nice, safe place close to the hospital. It's very important because I'm in Houston alone and my family is back in Charlotte, NC. Everything has been smooth and I couldn't have asked for a better experience.