Being at Project Joy and Hope as been such an amazing blessing from the very beginning. Our daughter, River Joy, is 13 and has been fighting cancer for 5 years; this is her 3rd cancer relapse. When we first heard about the opportunity to come to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas for an experimental immunotheraphy FDA clinical trial, we were excited for the chance. The first big hurdle was logistics - our family is now too large to live at the Ronald McDonald House. So which parent goes with River to Houston...for a month and a half? We have 5 children, the youngest is only 3 years old, and we homeschool, plus work... how to do this, and have River in Texas while keeping everything else going. Does one parent go for 3 weeks and fly back to swap the other out?
Our social worker at Texas Children's Hospital put us in touch with Project Joy & Hope. They were a joy to work with from the very beginning. With the ability of our entire family being able to come to Houston, a huge weight was taken from our shoulders.
Arriving at Project Joy & Hope, we were very impressed! The homes are lovely! Our 3 bed 2 bath home is beautifully furnished, including a full kitchen and all the dishes and cooking gear we need. The chair in the walk in shower was a very thoughtful touch as River has been very sick following the chemotheraphy and immune therapy. The home is sprinkled with messages of Joy, Hope and Love through the pictures on the walls and messages on our towels. Reminders of God's goodness surround our family.
It has been such a lovely retreat. At the end of our 3 days driving to get here we loved playing basketball and running around after being stuck in the car for so long. After long days at the hospital it is such a peaceful sanctuary. With 4 healthy, energetic kids the grounds have been wonderful! Our little ones love the park with slides and monkey bars - we visit several times a day! The sidewalks and large cement pad are great for riding scooters and playing basketball. I've enjoyed having grass for the kids to be be able to get out and run around on.
For work and homeschool lesson prep, we have been able to use the Parents Room complete with a computer and printer to stay up on our responsibilities. The Sibling Shop put on by Project Joy & Hope was wonderful for our daughters aged 11 and 9. They came home excited to tell us about the activities they did and the friends that they made.
We have loved being able to connect as a family and put all the craziness of our life the past few months away and just focus on the important things. I am humbled to be the recipient of such kindness of amazing people that have worked so hard to put these resources together during their children's treatments. Words are not enough to say thank you. Project Joy & Hope has kept our family together during this time - a priceless gift!
Many, Many Thanks!
Colt, Karin, River, Silver, Summer, Tanzi and Ridge Henderson