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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

A Shelter for Cancer Families (ASCF)

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Nonprofit Overview

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

Mission: A Shelter for Cancer Families provides stability, shelter and support for families seeking cancer care in the Texas Medical Center.

Target demographics: ASCF open its doors wide to all cancer families regardless age, cancer type, income or where they are in their cancer journey. ASCF respects the time, dignity, and privacy of cancer families while providing options and amenities that meet their specific needs.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Annually, ASCF has the capacity to serve more than 200 familes seeking seeking cancer care in Houston.

Geographic areas served: Houston, Texas

Programs: Whether you are a native Houstonian or traveling from across the country, A Shelter for Cancer Families (ASCF) prides itself in meeting you where you are in your cancer journey. We are the shelter for families who need a safe and comfortable home away from home, and the support and stability they need along the way.

Community Stories

100 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

3 Dejka A.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

Fletcher family
Chandler, Texas

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!!!!!

4 Rob_51

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
6

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

2 Sarah276

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories
5

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

4 Ann_122

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

6 Shirley33

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

5 Leah42

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

5 Lynettezeller

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

6 Tonisha B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband Doug was diagnosed with undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma in June of 2013. He was told "in order to save your life we have to take your leg." So his leg was removed in July and he started the process of healing and rehab. 4 months later it had spread to his lungs. We contacted MDA sarcoma center for a second opinion. We were in Houston for 9 months and he was still in treatment when the cottage we had been renting was no longer available to us. We had heard about the Amschwand sarcoma foundation from some friends, Shannon and Curtis Roten who were staying in an ASCF apartment at the time we met them. I contacted Missy and to our great joy one was available. We are so grateful to have had such a nice place to stay and so close to MDA. We are home for awhile now but will have many more appointments at MDA in the months to come. It is a comfort to know we can call Missy when we need to be in Houston. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!!

5 Peggy42

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been battling Ewing's Sarcoma since 2011. I would not be able to receive the best treatment in the world if it was not for Amschwand Foundation. I has provided housing on many of my trips for scans, doctor appointments, and treatments. It has become a home away from home for me. I just feel more comfortable in these apartments. After having a right pneumonectomy, I did most of my rehab walking the halls of the apartment complex.
God bless, Missy and the Foundation for all they have done for me and others.

Peggy McDaniel
Knoxville, TN

5 Stacey37

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amschwaund is currently housing my family for the second time as my husband undergoes cancer treatment at md anderson! I can not put into words how much this apartment has blessed us. It gives us a sense of normalcy during a time if utter chaos. The Amschwaund sarcoma foundation is so easy to work with and frees me up to spend all my time caring for my husband!

4 Stinelli C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My BELOVED only child, ANGEL Johnny O'Leary (7), was diagnosed on Oct. 14, 2011 with a rare sarcoma around his little heart (pericardial synovial sarcoma). We sought treatment at MD Anderson/Texas Children’s and called on Missy Bellinger, after a thorough search.

Tommy Amschwand was a dear personal friend of mine, but never thought I would maintain a connection with his beautiful soul in this manner. The Amschwand Sarcoma Foundation provided our family a free apartment for 3 months (3 miles from MDA) and held my hand when I needed guidance throughout our heartbreaking journey of 500 days … and beyond.

I am now on the board and it is my privilege to serve the 1% that are diagnosed with sarcoma and those that continue the fight! In my opinion, the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation is simply like its founder, Tommy - a powerful, focused, and unequivocal force that lives on to serve others.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma cancer in 2010. We opted to do treatment in Houston at MD Anderson. We moved our family to Houston for 9 months so he could do aggressive treatment. We learned about the Amschwand foundation after his treatment and have been able to stay in the apartments during surgery and scans. We were overwhelmed by the kindness of Melissa and the organization. Having a comfortable place to stay at no cost was such a relief to our family. The apartments are very nice and located close to the medical center. Our family will be forever grateful for Amschwand and the service you provide to families affected by sarcoma cancer.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Back in the beginning of March of this year my aunt had her first appointment in Houston, TX, at MD Anderson. We were prepared for a 1 week visit, given the initial guidance from the hospital. After our first appointment with the doctor, we were told that we were going to stay for several weeks as her treatment was very risky to be given elsewhere. Missy and the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation were there for us under these unexpected circumstances. The friendliness, flexibility and compassion shown to my aunt and family far exceeded any expectation one could have had from such an organization. The apartment was setup to be a home-like environment, and it made for the visit and treatments to become that much easier to cope with. The location made it very accessible to the hospital and the daily treatments. Furthermore, the people associated with the foundation made their presence available in case of any issues during the visit. They truly provided a caring neighbor when in a city far away from home. Thank you once again to this great organization.

3 Rosa5

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family will always be grateful with Melissa Amschwand-Bellinger and the Amschwand Foundation for the enormous generosity not only for the housing that was provided but the peace of mind they gave us while my sister was being treated in Houston. The apartment is very conveniently located and very well furnitured. Thank you to all the people involved with the Foundation . The tranquility my sister had during all the time she was in Houston its invaluable. Blessings to Missy and Dr Vinod Ravi who told us about the foundation.
Rosa Lucero

3 Ivette L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

During my time in Houston for treatment , I did not had a place to stay , but The Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation came to my rescue by providing housing . A nice ,safe and close to the hospital apartment.
I am so thankful to the Foundation and the kindness of Missy.
Nidia Lucero

3 Andrea93

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was such an incredible blessing for us during our stay in Houston. It's conveniently close to MD Anderson and many yummy restaurants. The decor was pleasant and calming. The courtyards, pool, and work out room were great too! I loved the idea of having a grill close by. It was just so great to not have to worry about paying for a hotel but still staying somewhere incredibly nice. Thank you for providing this service for us. God bless you all.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am most grateful to Missy and the love and support she has shown our family during this most difficult time of our lives!
My husband Curtis was diagnosed with Fibrosarcoma Jan 8 of this year after a tumor broke his L5 and he had surgery to relieve the pain. After much research we determined MD Anderson was who we wanted to treat his cancer. So we began the new patient process and came for our first visit to Houston from Ft Worth. We were here just a few days but the trip was quite costly.
I began to search the internet and found the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation and could not stop reading.
I read up on the housing program they provided and sent in the application. I heard back from Missy in no time at all and she said she could accommodate us when we came to Houston for the first treatment.
We arrived here on March 2nd for a March 3rd appt. Missy emailed me to say she had an apartment ready for us to use during our stay. And it is such a nice apartment! No words can ever express how very very grateful we are for this.
My husband ended up being taken to the ER on the 3rd and today is still in the hospital but just to have the apartment to go to for down time is a tremendous blessing. We have a road ahead and the cancer diagnosis was changed once MD did their own biopsy. He has Multicentric Osteosarcoma and it caused his leg to break just this past Monday during an X-Ray. He just finished 10 days of radiation and 5 days of Chemo when it happened. So we wait for his counts to go back up and then he will have 2nd round of chemo with an additional drug. Then once his counts come up he will have surgery on his leg. It is now casted from hip to foot.
I will always be grateful for the love and compassion poured into our lives by this tremendous blessing. I have expressed to Missy I want to help in any way I can to tell others about this amazing foundation.
God bless you all~

3 Trishia S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

It is hard for me to put into words how thankful I am for the housing provided by The Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation. When my 21 year old son was diagnosed with his 2nd sarcoma in his calf, I knew we would be traveling to MDAnderson from Washington state for his treatment due to the complicated surgery it would take to get clean margins and due our genetic predisposition to cancer (Li Fraumeni Syndrome). Another patient with Li Fraumeni told me about the housing provided by the Amschwand Sarcoma Foundation. We were in Houston a little over 3 weeks. Having a child with cancer is tough enough, but dealing with travel costs, loss of time from work and then possible hotel costs can be so overwhelming. To have some of the financial burden erased was HUGE. Not to mention the sense of 'home' that the apartment brought. Having a separate bedroom for my son to sleep in, a kitchen to be able to cook for him in, the shuttle to and from the hospital during the week, and the gorgeous property and friendly staff were so very appreciated. Missy was so kind and helpful with whatever questions I had. Thank you so much for providing this much needed service! We will be forever grateful to your Foundation for all of the help you provided to our family!

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Before my brother, Tom, passed away from sarcoma cancer and in honor of our mother who had succumbed to the disease six years prior, he envisioned a non-profit in Houston that would help others who are affected by this rare disease. Having just spent time in Boston utilizing a non-profit that provides temporary housing to persons receiving treatment in the medical area, Tom envisioned a similar program in Houston since MD Anderson is one of the few sarcoma centers in the world and since most people receiving treatment have to travel great distances for treatment. Travel expenses are not covered by insurance and can be very costly for sarcoma patients and their loved ones. Not only have we been able to provide housing for sarcoma patients receiving treatment at the MD Anderson Sarcoma Center with three different corporate apartments, but we have been able to fund much needed sarcoma research, create awareness and provide tangible support .

I am extremely proud to serve as an original board member alongside my sister-in-law, Missy Amschwand-Bellinger, who has not only fulfilled Tom’s dream but has lovingly and fearlessly guided us in creating his amazing legacy.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation provided my family and I with a sense of peace. When we found out that my father had cancer we knew that he would have to obtain his treatment in Houston which is 4 1/2 hours away from home. We contacted ASCF and Missy immediately took action and provided my parents with an apartment to live in while my father received treatment at MDA. My father adored Missy and was so amazed by how much she truly cares for each and every one that she meets through ASCF. Missy certainly goes above and beyond to help in any way that she can. During that difficult time we were comforted by knowing that ASCF was constantly there for us and always provided a shoulder to cry on, Thanksgiving dinner, phone calls with words of encouragement and prayers. Words cannot express the enormous amount of gratitude that we have for ASCF and our amazing friend Missy. We were truly blessed to have come in contact with ASCF and Missy Bellinger, you will always be in our hearts forever.

Blessings,
The Zepeda and Snelson Family

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation changes the lives of families affected by sarcoma cancers. It is an honor to serve as a board member for this amazing organization.