The following are just some of the many reviews, letters & words of encouragement that ASCF has received over the years. A Shelter for Cancer Families (formerly the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation) has been changing lives since 2001, but don't just take our word for it, read what the families we serve have to say about us.
Our son Wyatt was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three months. During that time, our family spent a total of seven months in Houston before he passed away on April 28, 2017. While we were in Houston, a local charity, Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation now renamed A Shelter for Cancer Families (ASCF), housed us in apartments free of charge. When they didn't have any available we actually stayed in the founder's home with her family. Without this help we would have never been able to afford the treatment for our son and would have likely not had the 2 1/2 years with him that we did.
Wyatt Brown Family (Ashley & Eric) Lexington, South Carolina
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, [ASCF] responded to our request for temporary housing and provided us 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 for our entire family 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 [ASCF]. Many, many thanks
Tom, Amy, Charlie Anne, Davis, Mary Katherine & Wilson Grimes Helena, Alabama
It was a pleasure talking with you. I am so pleased that ASCF will be able to use my daughter Jamie's furniture & other things to assist families that are going through the battle with cancer. Jamie would be SO pleased! I sure appreciate all that the foundation does to help these families & your assistance helping my daughter Jamie with your housing program. Your volunteers Sandi & Mark Vela were so kind to Jamie...again, I appreciate you and all the wonderful things this foundation stands for. Thank you.
Jim McMahan Russellville, Arkansas
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, 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 [ASCF]. My next two rounds of treatment I was able to stay at an apartment located very close to the medical center, provided by 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 [ASCF] truly care about people! We appreciate them so much. Lynette Zeller & family Corpus Christi, Texas
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, & 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. Andrea & Brian Kenney Indianapolis, Indiana
Wonderful! What a relief to be able to stay in your apartment to recuperate after my surgery & for my follow-up visits! The drive to & from Tennessee takes so much out of me. As always, I am so grateful to have a place to stay while I am in Houston. Your organization has played a major part in my recovery. Thank you again & again. Peggy Mc Daniel Knoxville, Tennessee
ASCF has aided me and my family in ways you do not know. I live in Birmingham, Alabama & was diagnosed with a soft-tissue sarcoma, Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor (DSRCT), in December of 2010. I was referred to MD Anderson Cancer Center's Dr. Peter Anderson, and began treatment immediately. I had my 2nd surgery at MDACC by Dr. Hayes-Jordan (one of ASCF's past grant recipients). Then I received a month of full abdominal radiation and chemotherapy at MDACC.
I was required to stay in Houston to recover from my second surgery & for the entire month of my radiation treatments. My wife is an RN and she took leave from her job. We initially searched for a furnished apartment, but it was going to cost at least $3,000.00 a month. That is when a neighbor, who also had sarcoma but unfortunately has since lost her battle, told me about ASCF. One of the apartments was available & we were able to stay in it for two months, rent free. I can not begin to explain the relief that provided. It was just another stress that we did not have to worry about, & we could focus on my recovery all the more. Thank you. Brad and Stacey Booth Birmingham, Alabama
I am most grateful to Missy & the love and support she has shown our family during this most difficult time of our lives! My husband Curtis was diagnosed with fibrosarcoma after a tumor broke his L5 & 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 & 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 & found ASCF & could not stop reading. I read up on the housing program they provided & sent in the application. I heard back from Missy in no time at all & she said she could accommodate us when we came to Houston for the first treatment. Missy emailed me to say she had an apartment ready for us to use during our stay & it is such a nice apartment! No words can ever express how very very grateful we are for this. Just to have the apartment is a tremendous blessing. We have a road ahead & the cancer diagnosis was changed to multicentric osteosarcoma once MDACC did their own biopsy. I will always be grateful for the love & 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. Shannon Roten Fort Worth, Texas
I just wanted to thank you again for your incredible kindness. My husband’s condition has been stressful to all of us, but being able to care for him without having to worry about housing while he was in treatment at MDACC certainly lightens our load. God bless all of you. Christine Chiang Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Greetings from West Texas. Thank you very much for your help and for your organization's generosity. You have to know how very much these programs and accommodations are needed and appreciated. Irma and Adolfo Ramirez Alpine, Texas
It is hard for me to put into words how thankful I am for the housing provided by ASCF. When my 21 year old son was diagnosed with his 2nd sarcoma in his calf, I knew we would be traveling to MD Anderson from Washington state for his treatment due to the complicated surgery it would take to get clean margins & due our genetic predisposition to cancer (Li Fraumeni Syndrome). Another patient with Li Fraumeni told me about the housing provided by ASCF. 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 & 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 & from the hospital during the week, & the gorgeous property & friendly staff were so very appreciated. Missy was so kind & 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!
Trishia Shelly-Stephens Washington
Just wanted to thank you & ASCF for the use of the beautiful apartment while my husband was admitted into the hospital for treatment associated with Epithelioid Sarcoma. Having access to complimentary lodging really allowed our family to focus on more important things. One never knows how cancer, especially Sarcoma will affect the entire family, finances, etc. Thank you for being a tangible resource. I do have the packet of information from the apartment. As soon as we are able, I would like to give back.
With the deepest gratitude, Jennifer & Michael Pedraza Nederland, Texas
I just wanted to send you a thank you note for allowing us to use your apartment. The place was wonderful and so helpful. Having it took a lot off an already stressful situation. I don’t know what we would have done without it. We are so thankful for your help. ASCF is amazing. Thank you.
Kelly (and Scott) Harper Mesquite, Texas
I would like to thank you for everything you have done for my family. I greatly appreciate what you have done by providing our families with a furnished apartment as well as Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners. It is a wonderful thing that you do. We are so lucky that you are willing to help. Once again, thank you so much.
Chrystal Chiang Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
We greatly appreciate ASCF for the hospitality suite & your moral support during cancer treatments at MD Anderson. You have been a great blessing to our family. Louis R. Blanchard Family (Louis, Lorraine, Carolyn, Farrell, Quentin, Bonita, Darla & Bob) Cameron, Louisiana
Please know how grateful we will be to ASCF for giving Abby & Sam a very nice, close by apartment while he was in treatment. I don’t know that we could ever repay ASCF because there will never be a dollar amount to equal a mother’s peace of mind. As I wrote thank yous to those who gave to ASCF in Sam’s memory, I described the housing for Abby & Sam as…steroid Ronald McDonald but not just for children! Thank you. If ever I can do anything, please let me know. The honor would be mine. God bless you & yours forever.
Fondly. Sam Haygood Family (Cindy, Daniel, Cait and Abby) Athens, Georgia
I wish to thank ASCF's volunteer for sitting with me & being my “family” during my surgical procedure. Without your presence, my procedure would not have been possible.
ASCF says it offers “love, hope & tangible support.” Please know that you gave me all of these in the time you spent at my side. God really sent His angels when He connected me with you. Thank you.
Janice C. Connor San Antonio, Texas
Thank you for the support you have extended towards our family. We are deeply grateful to you for being there for us during this difficult time.
With our love, Johnny O’Leary Family Dallas, Texas
I would like to thank you for all of the love and generosity you have given to me and my family. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would be for us without your help this past year. I know there will come a day that I can pass this forward & I will let them know why. May God continue to bless you & your family. Love lots.
Elizabeth Stephens Austin, Texas
Thank you so very much for this beautiful apartment. Our family is truly grateful. We appreciate this blessing & are just so thankful. On behalf of our family & our son Spencer (who was 17 years and battled sarcoma with grace, beauty and courage), thank you.
Spencer Page Family (Laurie, Jim, Hailey and Marcie) Denver, Colorado
As the year draws to a close, Kirsten & I wanted to take the time to thank you & ASCF for everything that you do for sarcoma patients & their families. We have been truly fortunate to have received help from so many friends, family & ASCF over the last couple of years. Thank you.
Steve, Kirsten, Noah and Eli Reed Maryland
We just wanted to thank you for taking such good care of us and keeping us in your prayers. We appreciate everything that you & ASCF have done for our family. Chas Russell Family New Mexico
[ASCF] 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 [ASCF’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 MDACC, 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, [ASCF] 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 appointments 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.
Sarah and Matthew
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, [ASCF] 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.
Leah Lawson Austin, Texas
My son Damon was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma Bone Cancer January 31, 2014 at the tender age of 9. He had a massive tumor in his left arm in the humerus bone. One moment life is great, your child is just being a kid and then suddenly the next you find your child is suddenly thrust in a battle for his life. Such was our plight.
Damon became very astute quickly and sadly grew up and matured much too quickly. He went from wondering when he'd have time to ride his bike to wondering if his counts were even high enough for him to go outside. He immersed himself into understanding what was going on. He always wanted to be part of the conversation and be told directly what was happening. We never kept anything from him. He had a limb-salvage surgery to save his arm. He fought cancer hard for a year. On Jan. 31, 2015 he was declared cancer free. However, his reign of freedom would be short-lived as just 10 months later the cancer returned in his arm. This time, we would not be able to save his arm and to save his live, we had to amputate.
It was at this point his mother and I made the decision to move his treatment to M.D. Anderson in Houston. After much research, the choice to move was easy to make. However, the option to do so was not. It was not just a matter of how would the treatment go, it would be how in the world would be able to pull it off? We live in San Antonio (4 hours away), so any time he would go to the hospital they would have to stay in Houston, pay for gas to get there, etc. We were already drowning in a sea of bills from hospitals, doctors, etc. So we had no idea how we would pay for all this. Then....suddenly an Angel appeared in the form of Missy Bellinger from ASCF. She and her team at ASCF met with Lisa and Damon and immediately helped us by providing a place for them to stay whenever he receives treatment. This has turned into over a year now and we are still a ASCF family and they have still provided us a place to stay via a wonderful apartment (close by the hospital with shuttle service).
It's not just the apartment they provide. They give SO much more. Missy has attended doctor meetings with us to help us sort through treatment. Taken notes and transcribed them; they have taken Damon to places to help him forget about cancer, hospital, etc if even for a few hours. Their care, their love, their compassion to Damon, our family and the other families we have come in contact with can not be measured. We are not just recipients of their services, we are a family. We have met many of the other families they assist and together we have stopped being just one family dealing with cancer, now we are a HUGE family coming together to support each other.
Honestly, I don't know how we would have come this far without ASCF and Missy and their team. I don't make that general statement loosely. I honestly mean, I have no idea how we would have done it without them. Their love, support, care has allowed us to do the one thing we MUST do which is to focus on Damon and our family. There are many organizations out there; I know. But with ASCF team, it's not just a matter of holding our hand and helping us...it's a matter of lifting us up and relieving us. They are our 'Earthly Angels' and when we pray every night to God to lift the cancer from Damon and all other kids, we thank him for the people he placed in our path. I always say, this is certainly not a journey I would ever want to make....but God sure has made it interesting.
**SIDE NOTE** I met a lady in Ireland via twitter when Chris Evans (a.k.a. Captain America) tweeted about Damon. Her sister was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, but the treatment in Ireland was not great. I helped her get into M.D. Anderson. She called and said they got in and would be there for a week and if I could make a recommendation on inexpensive hotels because they didn't have a lot of money. Instead of offering suggestions, I put her in contact with the ASCF. It wasn't easy, but in a matter of a day or two, the ASCF got her a place and put them up, thus saving them expenses and giving them peace of mind. That is an organization that cares!!!
Brian Billeck San Antonio, Texas
This charity has served both me and my sister the both times [we] have needed to travel from northern Ireland to Houston for hospital appointments in mdAnderson cancer centre. Without this charity we both would have been so lost but due to the hard work and support from this charity they have served us both extremely well and we could not have done our journey with out them. Many thanks. God bless.