The myeloma journey is one that requires a great oncologist, countless office visits, even more countless treatments and, sometimes, staying near your doctor’s office for weeks at a time (like when a patient is in the midst of transplant). Some patients are lucky that their specialist is near where they live. But many patients are required to travel to those appointments at great personal expense. What warms our heart at Myeloma Crowd is when we learn of organizations who are offering help to those who need it most—cancer patients who are forced to hit the road to receive good care. One such organization is Home Away From Home, a ministry of the Little Rock Church and its partners (https://www.littlerockchurch.org/ministries/outreach/home-away-from-home/). It primarily serves myeloma patients from around the world who travel to Little Rock to receive treatment at top-rated University of Arkansas Medical School (UAMS). Home Away From Home has served patients for more than 19 years and demonstrates the love they put into helping myeloma patients and their families with great medical and emotional needs. Members of Little Rock Church created Home Away From home and the congregation provides leadership and oversight, but benefits by a growing number of partners, including congregations, businesses, volunteers and generous contributors who help out, too. “I am often reminded how God is at work within the ministry,” says Kim Burket, Ministry Leader. “With the assistance of my partner, Pam Hamby, in just one year, we moved all of our 15 apartments out of an older community and transitioned, updated and improved the temporary residential homes of Home Away From Home. Our ministry now offers two newer communities in a more upscale and safer area of the city. With Pam’s expertise in design, our new look offers a bright and beautiful uplifting feel for our patients and families. We have apartments at the Palisades on Rahling Road and The Park Avenue Lofts in the new Midtown area just minutes away from UAMS.” Home Away From Home serves patients and families who travel into Little Rock for medical treatment. The apartments offer the following: -Reservation flexibility (no early check-out fees) -No signing of a lease agreement -Fully furnished apartments, including utilities and WiFi, stocked kitchen, bath towels and linens, TV/ DVD players, literally move-in ready; down to the books games and puzzles -Both properties have an outdoor pool/whirlpool (patients should check with their doctor prior!) -Pet free/smoke free -Special rates are offered for one and two bedroom apartments. Pricing is based on length of stay and is available for short and long term needs. The goal is to serve as many patients as possible and scholarship funds are available for families in need based on review -Homemade casseroles and goodie bags are delivered from time to time. Home Away From Home offers continued encouragement, love and hope! In addition, much other support is offered, including meet and greet gatherings, organized support groups, church services, and notes of encouragement. “Loving hospitality is at the heart of what we do. But, I am inspired by the brave patients and caregivers, how they cope and handle a difficult situation,” says Kim. “It’s unimaginable how many families come to Little Rock's UAMS to receive treatment and to find hope. As you know, UAMS is considered one of the top treatment facilities in the world for multiple myeloma with over 9 thousand patients last year. Many are forced to stay in a hotel. We feel that our unique apartment setting — with a loving, hospitable environment — provides much-needed services, which is key for treatment and recovery.” To learn more about Home Away From Home, or to find out how you can get involved to help support this cause in some way, Contact Kim Burket, Ministry Leader at 501-530-0095 or visit their web site by clicking here.
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.