A Sense of Comfort: Providing Housing to Patients and their Families During Treatment

Nicholas Colleluori, the founder of HEADstrong Foundation, was hospitalized for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment as a teenager. While visiting him in the hospital, his parents encountered another family living out of their car in the parking garage to be with their daughter while she received a bone marrow transplant. The family had traveled more than 500 miles to pursue treatment for their daughter, adding emotional and financial burden during an already difficult time. The Colleluori’s welcomed them into their own home and provided them with the support they needed to keep fighting, but they knew this family’s hardships were far from uncommon.

There was and remains an overwhelming need for local housing for others seeking potentially life-saving treatment. Before Nicholas passed away in 2006, he asked his parents to promise him that others facing similar difficulties would benefit from his life. They helped him create the HEADstrong Foundation from his hospital bed to fulfill that wish. In 2011, they opened Nick’s House as one of the foundation’s core programs to provide housing to families during the most critical and vulnerable times of their lives as they pursue lifesaving treatments.

Patients and families regularly need to travel hundreds and thousands of miles to pursue treatments offered specifically in the Greater Philadelphia region. For many families, the financial burdens associated with a stay – which can often exceed 50 days – influence their decision to seek care.

Inspired by Nick’s story and the HEADstrong Foundation’s commitment to serving patients and families, AstraZeneca has teamed up with them to support Nick’s House. By eliminating families’ worries about affording an extended out-of-town stay, Nick's House helps facilitate access to quality care. To stay at Nick's House, guests must have a permanent residence more than 50 miles from the guest house. Patients and their immediate family can stay, for free, for up to 8 weeks in a safe and comfortable space while undergoing treatment.

“Caring for a child with a serious illness is one of the most challenging experiences that a parent can face,” said Chatrick Paul, Senior Vice President US Oncology, AstraZeneca. “Our partnership with the HEADstrong Foundation to expand their housing services reaffirms our commitment to always put patients and caregivers first and supports our shared belief that bringing a sense of normalcy to families in long-term treatment is critically important.”

“Every month, more and more families affected by cancer and other related conditions are forced to travel hundreds and thousands of miles to pursue specialized care offered in the Greater Philadelphia region. For many, their stay may impact an already difficult financial situation,” said Cheryl Colleluori, President, HEADstrong Foundation. “This partnership is critical in providing families with the complimentary, long-term housing they need to access vital medical care needed for their child.”

The partnership was announced during the HEADstrong Foundation’s annual Lime Light Gala, which united philanthropists, medical professionals, civic leaders, and businesses to recognize groundbreaking achievements and honor families in the fight against cancer on September 17, 2021.

HEADstrong Foundation is committed to improving quality of life for those affected by cancer and rare disease. Learn more about Nick's House and the HEADstrong Foundation on their website or via social media @HEADstrongFND.