The Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation has recently expanded its popular corporate apartment program for sarcoma cancer patients. In 2007, ASCF started the program to complement its existing "Shared Families" hospitality house concept which connects Houstonians who have a room to share with visiting sarcoma patients. "While 'Shared Families' works for many of our patients, after Hurricane Katrina, we realized that the hospitality house program doesn't work for everyone," states Melissa Amschwand Bellinger, ASCF Board Chair. As a result, and after much research, ASCF board members voted unanimously to partner with Premier Corporate Housing on a new initiative.
With help from Premier President Marie Keramati, ASCF signed its first apartment lease in March 2007, with furniture and housewares generously donated by the Houston-based company. Since that time, the apartment has been occupied almost 100% of the time, only vacated for cleanings between its residents.
At the beginning of 2008, ASCF expanded the program to include a second apartment, which also has been occupied continuously by out of town patients (and their families) in desperate need of housing in the Houston area. Now the non-profit maintains three such apartments at the Equinox (on Old Spanish Trail) -- a location convenient to patients and their families. ASCF Tangible Support Council Chairs Danetta Beaushaw and Margaret Ling both of whom have had familiy members claimed by the disease, hope to expand the program even more in the future as the need arises.
ASCF's corporate apartments are offered to sarcoma patients and/or their families free of charge however, it is not just the financial toll that is lessened for our program's participants, but the emotional one as well. "Out of the many trips we've made to Houston for Eric's treatment, staying with you has by far been the best experience we've had to date...[the apartment] has literally been our home away from home,"stated co-survivor Carrie Riley. Her husband Eric adds "when I get back on my 'feet' you will hear from me. I WILL find a way to give back to ASCF!" In fact, Eric already has. Even after countless rounds of chemo and a leg amputation in 2007 (when the family first stayed with ASCF), the Riley family's fighting spirit continues to be an inspiration to countless others.
Unfortunately, no other program of its kind exists in the area and the need is tremendous. The emotional and financial toll taken on patients who receive treatment away from home (a necessity for most sarcoma patients) is inconceivable. "Imagine being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and then being told you must seek treatment away from home, away from your loved ones, away from your entire support network" stated ASCF Founder Tom Amschwand. Fortunately, ASCF has stepped in to offer just a little support in this area. "We can't even believe the gratitude that we get from our patients and families....it certainly lets us know we're on to something good," states Bellinger.
For more information on the ASCF corporate apartment program, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or download our Housing Program forms. Once the forms have been completed and signed, please return it directly to ASCF by mail to 2726 Bissonnet Street, Suite 240-314, Houston, Texas 77005.
Unfortunately, we are NOT able to confirm accomodations any sooner than one week prior to a family's anticipated arrival date.
Families are encouraged in such instances to check back with ASCF one week prior to arrival date for a status update. ALL forms must be completed and mailed or emailed to the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation before consideration will be given.