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Review for A Shelter for Cancer Families (ASCF), Houston, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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

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