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Christopher's Haven

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Family Services, Homeless & Housing, Human Services, Residential Care & Adult Day Programs, Temporary Housing

Mission: Christopher's Haven aims to make a tangible difference in the life of a child and his/her family being treated for cancer at the MassGeneral Hospital by providing a comfortable, fully furnished and equipped apartment during the average 6-8 weeks of outpatient cancer treatment. Christopher's Haven offers a warm and supportive community for both kids and caregivers.

Results: Since opening the first apartment in 2006, we have acquired 7 residential units and a community space for families. 2010 was the first year in full operation. We hosted 50 families in that year. Since opening, we have hosted over 200 families.

Target demographics: Providing affordable and comfortable housing for children receiving outpatient cancer treatment and their families.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Direct benefiaries are the children and their families who are being treated at MassGeneral Hospital for cancer. Christopher's Haven enables families to focus on their child's treatment and not worry about where to stay and how to afford living in an expensive city.

Geographic areas served: United States, International

Programs: Provided temporary housing for pediatric cancer patients and their families as they undergo medical treatment.

Community Stories

39 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Carly14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the good fortune of being introduced to this amazing organization through a fundraiser last year and fell in love with Christopher's Haven. The amount of genuine passion that goes into making these families feel as comfortably as possible is truly unbelievable. Christopher's Haven provides housing for families from all over the world who's children are battling cancer and getting treated in Boston. From the moment you walk into their facilities, you know you're somewhere special. Whenever a child finishes treatment, they get to ring a bell and then whole facility throws a party in celebration. I've seen these families come in and build beautiful relationships in a safe space with others who are battling the same thing. There is so much warmth and so much love that goes around Christopher's Haven and my greatest wish is to see it grow bigger and bigger as the years go on!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Christopher's Haven continuously finds ways to change the lives of families who have been given the worst possible news and must act quickly. These families are not only given a home, but by residing in one of the apartments at Emerson Place, they are also introduced to an understanding, second family-type of community. Most importantly, Christopher's Haven takes into account all who are effected by the illness, as siblings and family members are made to feel important and valid. God bless these families and the sweet souls behind Christopher's Haven!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A place where compassion and loving people through there toughest battles is a priority. Thank you for loving people!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We were one of the first few families to stay in the first apartment in May-June 2007, while my daughter, Jamie Buchanan was in treatment. We LOVED it there! We wanted to stay in Boston permanently! Hi Anne Brogan! and Evelyn M! Is Paul still at reception? Who is the nurse there now?? I'd love to see pics of our apartment, right off the elevator, 6th floor!! You are all angels! ❤️❤️❤️
Andrea (Buchanan) Cardillo

Client Served

Rating: 5

My then eight year old daughter was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in May of 2008. Part of her treatment required radiation and her doctors at CHOP recommended proton therapy. At that time the closest facility offering proton therapy was Mass General.

Christopher'sHaven was a godsend to us for our six week stay in Boston during treatment. Despite being in Boston for obviously a traumatic reason, Chistopher's Haven made our stay otherwise a great experience.

Fast forward five years and my daughter is a happy healthy 13 year old today. We think of Boston as our second home and love the city. Thank you Christopher's Haven for being there for my family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my four year old son was diagnosed with a rare cancer, we decided to travel thousands of miles away from our home, job, family, and friends to give him the best possible care. When we first arrived in Boston, we spent a couple of nights in a hotel. When my son's nurse asked him if there was anything she could get for him he candidly replied, "dishes." He told her his new house did not have dishes. She smiled and called Christopher's Haven. Alone and in an unfamiliar city, the staff at Christopher's Haven welcomed us as family. My son was so happy there. He became the "superhero" that ran up and down the hall welcoming other families and visitors. He was able make new friends, and I was able to talk to other moms and dads that were going through difficult times as well. We became more than friends. We were sad when we had to leave. My son often asks, "when are we going back home to "our" apartment in Boston?" We had a wonderful experience at Christopher's Haven. The staff made a difficult time much easier for us.

1 Susan277

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 4 year old has a recurrence of her cancer. She was originally diagnosed at age 3 and was treated at MGH. We stayed at Christopher's Haven in the summer of 2012 and they welcomed us back just this passed month to begin her second round of radiation. We have a beautiful apartment across the street from the hospital. The week day are busy with treatment for my sweet girl and we can quickly be home and play or rest as needed. In the weekend there is enough room to welcome my husband and second daughter.

This kind of a stay in this neighborhood would be cost prohibitive to my family. That is to say that My 4 year old would not be able to do this specific treatment if we could not afford a place to stay. Christopher's Haven makes it finically possible for my family to get the treatment we need. But, This place offers so much more then finicial support.

This place is nicely decorated with space to rest an play. The volunteers, interns and staff are here to serve us in so many ways. This place is run on compassion, kindness and generosity. I am humbled and grateful for the time this has given me to spend with my daughter.

I would recommend this to anyone. It has been a life saving organization for us.

Donor

Rating: 5

We are grateful to the MGH and Christopher's Haven for making us fell we are at home. We stay from Jan 2013 until March 2013, and we felt loved . Absolute best place to stay to help family like us when coming from Miami area.

Love you Guys .
Bell Family

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am currently staying at Christopher's Haven with my twelve year old daughter who was diagnosed six month ago with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of the Lacrimal Gland. This was a very scary diagnosis, I suppose cancer is always a scary diagnosis but we could not find any children with this particular rare type of cancer. Then we found another girl from Florida and spoke to her mother who told us of Dr. Liebsch at MASS General and also about Christopher's Haven. Thank god that she did. Both Dr. Liebsch and Christopher's Haven have been a godsend! During previous visits CH was full and we stayed at a local hotel. Staying at a hotel for a long period of time not only costs a fortune but is soul destroying. CH is a home from home, such a cosy apartment kitted out with everything you could need, and only steps from the hospital. And having the loft is a great advantage, you can join whenever you want, or not. In a difficult situation, it makes the accommodation part so easy. Also there is a comfort in being with people who are going through a similar experience. We are very grateful to Christopher's Haven.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Feeling at home while caring for your child 300 miles away from "home" is a difficult task. Christopher's Haven offered us so much and more than we could have ever asked for! We are so grateful to their organization and everyone that helps in supporting it.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am very grateful to the MGH Proton Team for recommending Christopher's Haven.

Without a doubt, the absolute best place to stay!

A wealth of truly wonderful people who provided much more than 'a home away from home' during an extremely difficult time in our lives.

Whatever happens, no one can take away our truly wonderful memories that we gained
while staying at Christopher's Haven.

We love Boston! Go Red Sox!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wonderful, supportive place to stay this summer during our son's treatment at Mass General.

Amy_131

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was diagnosed at 15 months with brain cancer. The best treatment for him, after his surgery, was proton beam radiation, and there was no proton beam within easy travel distance of my apartment.

MGH has the most experience in the country with pediatric proton beam radiation, so I made the decision to take my twin toddlers and myself to Boston. I had initially planned to stay at a friend's place or rent an apartment or do something, when a cousin mentioned Christopher's Haven.

Christopher's Haven provided us a place to stay that was so close to the hospital that I could roll my NPO child out of bed and be at the hospital in minutes every morning, minimizing the time my son was awake and not fed. The apartment they provided was beautifully decorated, with robust furniture to survive twin toddlers, but homey and cheerful feeling. The playroom / gathering area down the hall provided a great place for the kids to play, and to meet and commiserate with the other parents of kids with proton-beam requiring cancers. They were friendly, helpful, and provided pointers, coupons and entrance to a number of activities in the Boston area as well.

I feel lucky and blessed that we were offered space at Christopher's Haven for the duration of my son's radiation.

Jennifer B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2009 my son was diagnosed wit ha brain tumor. We had to move 100's of miles away from our home for 6 weeks so he could get a special type of radiation. We are so blessed that we ended up at Christopher's Haven. I could never say enough good things about our experience there. It was like living among family eventhough ours were miles away. They helped make a very difficult time in our life a little easier. We love it there and I recommend it to everyone who is in a similar situation.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family stayed at Christopher's Haven in 2009 while my son received proton radiation for a malignant brain tumor. They gave us a beautiful place to stay that we could afford and allowed us to have a relaxing "home away from home" close enough to the hospital that we could walk there. While we were there they had two gatherings, where we met the director and the owner, along with several activities for the kids. It was definitely a "home away from home" complete with a caring, supportive family to go with it. I would (and do) highly recommend Christopher's Haven to anyone receiving proton treatment at MGH.

Christina63

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter Kim was diagnosed with brain cancer in August, 2012. After having surgery done in NYC, we decided to go to Boston - MGH for proton radiation. THANK goodness for Christophers Haven!! It was such a great feeling knowing that we were so close to the hospital which made going back and forth (sometimes 2 or 3 times a day..dr appts, radiation, pt or ot, etc) so much easier, it was just a quick walk across the street. I felt right at home with the adorable apt we called home for 6 weeks, fully stocked with everything you would need if it were your own. Clean right from the start. The staff is so helpful and the meeting room was great for having the children get together to watch tv, movies, crafts and just keep each other company during this very difficult time. Loved the nights when dinner was served in the meeting room as well. Treasure the friends we made during our time there as well.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The help, healing and hope that was given to us at Christopher's Haven had a dramatic effect on my son's ability to not only tolerate the proton radiation, but actually heal from his brain surgery.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son and I stayed here while he received Proton Radiation and speech, vision, occupational and physical therapies. Because of its proximity to MGH he was able to maintain a schedule with up to five appointments each day and still have time to rest and recuperate. He arrived in a wheelchair and left walking. However, Christopher's Haven is more than just affordable and convenient housing. It is a refuge for families during an incredibly stressful time in their lives. The sense of community is amazing. In addition to an amazing professional team (Dan, Martha and Katelyn) the families develop a bond which helps everyone heal, parents, sibling, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Joy_12

Client Served

Rating: 5

Imagine being told your child has a rare cancer & will need to go to a city you've never been to for proton radiation after several brain surgeries. My youngest has Chordoma & his tumor is on the brain stem. It required 3 brain surgeries & proton radiation to save his life. Chemo doesn't work on his cancer. It was tough during the surgeries then having to go to a new city where you don't know anyone & be strong for your child. There are only a few proton radiation centers in the world that treat children with rare head, neck & spine tumors. Boston is one of them so a lot of families travel to this city with hopes of saving their child's life. Finding a place to stay that is close to the hospital that will not financially not bankrupt the families is needed. This is where Christophers Haven is a blessing to many families. They saw a need with rare childhood cancer on the rise.

Christopher's Haven welcomed us & treated us like family during & after our stay. They gave us strength during & after my son's proton radiation treatment in Boston. My son is now a thriving 16 year old in high school. He has few physical problems from his surgeries but cherishes his stay at Christophers Haven. The families, staff, interns & volunteers stood by us during 2 months in a new city for cancer treatments. They are now all life long friends.

A lot of people have been touched by cancer & have seen what these warriors go thru everyday. The children with cancer are treated with adult treatments with lifelong problems to save their life. Parents fight to keep them alive shouldn't have to worry about the expense of where to stay during their treatments. Christopher's Haven made sure that you don't have to worry about housing in Boston where it is very expensive. They also go above & beyond to make sure you feel at home. Most places forget some of the families after they leave. Christophers Haven continues to support the families with love & friendship even after they finish their treatments & go home.

Christopher's Haven needs your support to help the children & their families affected by cancer.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer on 4/29/11 at age 11. We received chemotherapy in Pittsburgh and then were told we qualified for proton beam radiation in Boston. As we looked for places to stay for her 6 week treatment, conventional hotels were unbelievably expensive. Then we learned about Christopher's Haven. It was about a block from Mass General Hospital and offered fully furnished apartments. While this alone was truly a blessing, we received so much more by staying there. Christopher's Haven is for children with cancer and their families. It was our first opportunity to meet other children and families who were going through the same thing we were. It was nice being able to talk with people who could relate to what we were experiencing. The staff of CH offered free massages once a week for all of us, opportunities for parents' nights out, and truly was a home away from home. We made lifelong friendships and I will never be able to thank everyone at Christopher's Haven for all they did for us.

Client Served

Rating: 5

If I had to describe Chrsitopher's Haven (CH) using one word - it would be: BLESSING. My seven year old daughter Madelyn was diagnoised with a rare spinal cancer (Chrodoma). We traveled from Tucson, Arizona for her radiation treatments @ MGH in Boston. I'm a single mother and traveled with two children to a city I had never been to. The director and staff at Christopher's Haven went above and beyond their services to make us feel welcomed, informed, and safe. They helped us find a Summer camp for Madelyn's brother. The camp was Hill House and they too were amazing people. We were there under very stressful circumstances but because of the love and hope given by everyone (employees & guests) @ CH we miss Boston. This Summer we hope to visit our friends at Christopher's Haven and it will not be for medical reasons. We just adore them all. That is how special they are. I'm saving up so we can make this trip happen in 2014. Anything we can do to support this incredible organization and the healing work they do - we are ready to help. If you're family is considering CH I would say it is a blessing and the BEST place for your family.

Barb Sparrow
Tucson, AZ
bsparrow114317@gmail.com

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had to stay in Boston for 2 1/2 months so that my little boy could get the treatment he needed. I truly do not know what we would have done if not for Christopher's Haven!!!! To have our own place and be right across the street to that incredible hospital Mass General....... I remember my little guy getting so sick one night from chemo that I had to put him in his stroller (too weak to walk) and go across the street to be admitted for 2weeks. The apartments are AMAZING and things to do there awesome for the children and parents!!! We have some truly amazing memories from all our time there at Christopher's Haven and the hospital and that incredible town BOSTON!!!! I could not put into words how much you all have meant to us!! THANK YOU!!!!