It has been a true privilege to experience a HOME at Brent's Place. I think an apartment would be a gift to house any family, but [everyone at Brent’s Place] make it more than a place to stay,” says Esther’s Mom, Sam. “A home is a place to find support, a safe place to struggle, to cry, a place to heal, to have fun, to grow.
Four year old Esther is one of five and as her mom puts it, things are always fun and always busy when you have five children under the age of 7, especially with two sets of twins. In June 2012, Esther’s mom, Sam, noticed a bump on her head. By the end of the following week, Esther was diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma.
Things changed quickly for the Esther’s family and by June 30, Esther was on a rigorous schedule of 6 rounds of chemo that included 5 days of inpatient stay followed by 2 weeks of rest. In early November, the hospital started talking about Bone Marrow Transplant. Quickly, the family had to plan for Esther’s month long hospital stay and a two to three month stay at Brent’s Place. Esther was not so sure she wanted to stay any place other than home, so a tour was arranged for her to come see Brent’s Place. After she saw the toy area, movie room, DVD collection, and playground, she agreed she would like to stay here for a while.
Esther checked into the hospital on December 12, 2012 for her Bone Marrow Transplant. The entire family, Sam (mom), Anthony (dad), Roarke (brother), Francesca (sister), Lydia (sister), and Zinnia (twin sister) moved into Brent’s Place. During Esther’s hospital stay, her mom and dad switched between staying at the hospital or at Brent’s Place with their other children. Instead of driving over 250 miles back and forth to their home in order to trade places, they only needed to cross the street to Brent’s Place, ensuring Esther was never left alone at the hospital and all her siblings were able to live as normal a life as possible with the at least one parent. While Esther was in the hospital, her siblings often enjoyed participating in some of the on-site programs and enjoyed playing with the other kids living at Brent’s Place.
Esther was able to leave the hospital on January 8, 2013 and the family was able to all be together for the first time in over a month! When Esther first came out of the hospital, the staff all learned to lean in close to hear her soft voice under her mask and stand back in amazement at her incredible strength. With time, Esther became stronger and was able to play more and more with her siblings and staff.
After living at Brent’s Place for 106 days, Esther and her family were able to head home. “It has been a true privilege to experience a HOME at Brent's Place. I think an apartment would be a gift to house any family, but [everyone at Brent’s Place] make it more than a place to stay,” says Esther’s Mom, Sam. “A home is a place to find support, a safe place to struggle, to cry, a place to heal, to have fun, to grow.”
Now three years out from her original diagnosis, Esther continues thrive. She still has to travel to Denver for scans and check-ups at Children’s Hospital, but when she does, her family always stops into Brent’s Place to say hi and share their good news of ‘clear scans!’ “Often in relationships, in life, it's so much easier to just provide a solution to a problem, but it's a lot harder to dive into the problem and live life amongst the pain and joy,” Sam says. “It takes tremendous courage and vulnerability. Thank you for being brave for us and families like ours.”