Monday, July 22, 2013

In Memory Of

It's a sad fact of Family House life that sometimes young patients at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital don't get better.

We love to share the inspiring stories of patients and families who live through the struggle of a life with cancer or another life-threatening illness, so you can see the important work that we do. We want you to share in the triumphs of the amazing families we serve, and learn to share their strength with others in your life.

Every time one of our children passes away, it affects all of us. When the families come here, they are often here for so long that Family House truly becomes their home.  It's common to hear longtime families speak of "my kitchen" or "my room," even though they haven't slept here in years. Family House and San Francisco become as much a home to each of those people as to the staff and volunteers who spend countless hours at 50 Irving Street and 1234 10th Avenue.

We have photos of kids and families in every conceivable space here, and yet, there are other surprising little reminders that come up all the time: a construction paper card written in crayon, found in a file drawer; origami pumpkins found in a bin of event supplies in the garage; a hand-made bracelet from last year's Valentine's Day party hidden in a box of rubber bands.

One of the most special ways that we are reminded of a child who is no longer with us is when we receive "in memory of" gifts. These donations are often small amounts of money given by a friend of the family, a member of the family's church or school, or someone who perhaps never had the blessing of knowing the child, but heard through a friend of a friend that Family House helped them when they needed it most. The staff is always touched when we receive an "in memory of" donation, because they are reminders that though the family has moved back home, that child will never be forgotten. And through the generosity of the community that child has left behind, Family House is able to continue our mission of helping other families through what may be the hardest experience of their lives.

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