MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – There are 26 hotel-style rooms in Rosenbaum Family House, adjacent to Ruby Memorial Hospital on the West Virginia University Health Sciences campus, and every night, every one of those rooms is full. On any given day, some 20 families will be waiting for a room to open up. Some wait up to eight days before one becomes available. The need for the service Family House provides exceeds its ability to help.
To remedy the situation, Family House has officially launched its Expansion of Hope Campaign, to not only serve more families but to enhance the environment for the people who stay there to be close to their families.
“We’re proud to serve so many families, but we need to be able to serve more. When a serious illness or injury strikes, staying close to family is important,” Jena Prokopchuk, director of Rosenbaum Family House, said. “Not having a place to stay adds stress to families who are already coping with sometimes life-threatening changes.”
Since opening in 1999, it has served more than 8,000 families, including nearly 600 families in 2009. Those families have come from all over West Virginia, 43 other states and 23 foreign countries.
To be eligible to stay at the house, families must accompany an adult patient and live at least 50 miles away from Morgantown. Family House charges $15 per night per room, but families are not turned away if they are unable to pay.
The Expansion of Hope Campaign kicked off with the Heroes of Hope Brunch on Saturday in Morgantown. The brunch was held at Blaney House, home of WVU President James Clements and his wife, WVU’s first lady, Beth. Mrs. Clements hosted the brunch.
“My family and I are blessed in so many ways, but we are especially blessed to have our daughter, Grace, in our lives,” Beth Clements said. “Grace’s early life was affected by many trips to doctor’s offices, so I know what it’s like to spend hours in waiting rooms. That’s why Jim and I are passionate about our daughter – and passionate about supporting programs and organizations like the Rosenbaum Family House that reach out to families in need.”
The first phase of the expansion campaign will provide Family House with:
• Three new guest rooms that will serve approximately 75 additional families annually
• One play room that will serve hundreds of children
• One day room, which will provide the nearly 1,200 families who get wait listed each year a place to take showers, rest, and have time away from the hospital bedside
• Upgrades to the existing facility
The goal for this phase of the campaign is to raise $500,000.
“We believe that healing involves the love and support of family and loved ones. By providing a home away from home, Rosenbaum Family House keeps love close when it’s needed most,” Prokopchuk said. “We want to be that second home and source of support for many, many more families. And, hopefully, with the success of this campaign, we’ll be able to do just that.”
At the brunch, two former residents of Rosenbaum Family House reflected on their experience.
Janice Haines of Elkins, whose husband, Bill, recently received a stem cell transplant, said the staff became her family.
“I lived with these people while Bill was ill and they treated me like I was family,” she said. “It meant so much to be with my loved one during a very scary part of our lives.”
Melissa “Kay” Holley from Buckhannon told how her husband, who has since passed away, was worried about how much money it was costing his extended family to visit him.
“When we learned we could stay at Family House and still be close to him, it was such a blessing,” Holley said. “Not to have to worry about accommodations, a meal, a place to go and take a shower … it just gives families of ill patients one less thing to have to worry about.”
Aly Goodwin Gregg, chair of the Family House Board, said the generosity of the community – whether volunteering, donating in-kind items or making a financial pledge – is vital. “Our volunteers prepare meals, register patients, deliver linens and provide us with household supplies and condiments,” she said. “We couldn’t survive without this support.”
She also announced several financial gifts which will bring the campaign to 25 percent of its $500,000 goal. In addition, the Clements’ family donated a TV/DVD player for the new activity room as part of the Hope Chest project.
“Super hero” rings were presented to guests as they left as a symbol of the heroes in the community who give time and energy to worthy causes like Rosenbaum Family House.
For information on contributing to the Expansion of Hope Campaign, contact Suzanne Likins, Family House development specialist, at 304-598-6094 ext. 4 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Rosenbaum Family House, see http://health.wvu.edu/rosenbaum/index.aspx.
Photo caption: WVU’s First Lady, Beth Clements, shows off the “super hero” ring she received at the Heroes of Hope Brunch on Saturday.