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Our House: The house that gives a hug to cancer patients

By on August 28, 2018 in Articles with 0 Comments

“It’s fun to see the support, the bonding and sharing here,” said Our House volunteer Judy Milner, top left. She stands with Norma Scovill, board president. Seated are Becky Elwell, house coordinator, left, and Nancy Focht, volunteer.

By Donna Cassidy

What do you do when you have been diagnosed with cancer and have six to eight weeks of treatments but you live out of Wenatchee?

Or you need someone to talk to and don’t want to be alone?

Betsy Tontini saw this need repeatedly as an oncology nurse at Wenatchee Valley Clinic and was instrumental in the planning of Our House.

Our House Cancer Care of NCW Inc.— some 22 years after Betsy’s death from kidney cancer — is now celebrating its 25th year as a “home away from home” for cancer patients.

“Our house promotes healing and we’re here if our guests want to talk,” said Becky Elwell, Our House coordinator.

Our House has seen perhaps 1,000 guests and has 50-plus volunteers. The house has eight bedrooms with four bathrooms, nicely stocked kitchen, dining room, two TV rooms and a lovely patio for their guests.

“Our House is a private, non-profit organization and is supported by local donations and fundraising,” said Norma Scovill who is the Cancer Care board president.  “We live in an amazing community that not only gives money but volunteers their time to Our House.”

Judy Milner, a retired school nurse, has been volunteering at Our House for 25 years. She said each volunteer has a special way of giving. “We are hostesses of the house. We have daily chores, answer phones and interact with the guests. It’s fun to see the support, the bonding and sharing here. It’s a cool place to be while going through treatments.”

And Judy’s specialty… she does some of the yard work.

Night manager Vicky Chandler said, “Just last night we had a guest play a Spanish guitar and it was awesome. And another guest made a fabulous meal for the whole house.”

One guest from Oroville said, “This feels like our home. Everyone is friendly, they are beautiful people with beautiful hearts. We are very comfortable here. It is a blessing to have this.”

Our house is located at 1708 Castlerock in Wenatchee.

Guests are adult cancer patients who may be accompanied and share a room with a supportive family member or friend. Cost is $20 a night. The house does not provide medical services. Guests can stay Monday through Thursday nights. For more information call 663-6964.

Not only does Our House help house cancer patients they have two fundraisers and give out scholarships.

And what would Our House say to its guests if it could talk?

Maybe something like this, suggested Becky and Norma: “Here’s a warm place of refuge and a nice place to come in and breathe. Welcome, and here’s a hug.”

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