what makes a shelter for cancer families (ASCF) different?
We provide tangible support to FAMILIES (not just patients) affected by cancer. Regardless of age, cancer-type, treatment or economic status, we are here for you and your family. The housing support ASCF offers is based on what out-of-town families affected by cancer need. Each ASCF apartment includes its own full service kitchen offering the families we serve privacy and options during a sensitive time. Each unit also includes its own washer and dryer providing convenience and dignity for families during their stay in Houston. Finally, every apartment has its own private gathering place for families to call their own “home away from home” where they can make memories with loved ones and receive guests. Or in the case when immune systems are compromised, having one's own space can provide an extra level of protection from germs and peace of mind for patients.
ASCF also provides navigation services to both families from Houston and those from out-of-town seeking cancer care here. Volunteers help families navigate the cancer landscape, make sense of medical jargon and explore their options. Our volunteers often accompany families to appointments or “call-in” for clinic visits to provide assistance with note taking and facilitating communication between the patient, family and the health care team when necessary.
At ASCF, we recognize that the time for living is now and cancer doesn't take a break for holidays or important milestones. We help families celebrate what is important to them, whether it is a birthday, anniversary, wedding, holiday, first-day-of-school or "ringing the bell" to signify the end of treatment. We help the families rejoice in special moments during their cancer journey.
Sometimes, the families we serve simply need someone to "show up" and "be there" for them. Our volunteers can offer a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on or ear to listen if that is what is needed.
The Texas Medical Center (TMC) based in Houston is the largest medical complex in the world. With more than 50 million developed square feet & more than 10 million patient encounters yearly, our medical center is massive. Home to both the largest cancer center and the largest pediatric hospital in the world, Houston is a medical mecca.
For many patients, especially those with rare cancers such as sarcoma, Houston’s high volume cancer specialists offer patients hope. The best treatments only work, if patients have access to them. About 150,000 patients will seek cancer treatment in Houston this year. Seventy-five percent of them will be coming from outside of the Houston area and they will not want to come alone. The question is where will these families stay? ASCF aims to eliminate housing as a barrier to out-of-town cancer patients accessing the care they need in Houston, when they need it.