As far back as I can remember, November and December have always been about family. Decorating the Christmas tree together, embarrassing pictures with Santa and snowball fights with dad before hot chocolate with mom.
But for some, the holidays will be spent with a husband or wife undergoing surgery at the Rush Medical Center, a son or daughter enduring chemotherapy at University of Illinois Hospital or grandparent completing dialysis at the VA Hospital. Far from fun or festive, many of these people are traveling more than 100 miles for treatment. Thankfully, they aren’t alone.
The Illinois Medical District (IMD) Guest House Foundation offers supportive services and affordable accommodations to patients and their families that travel to receive medical care. With love and laughter being the best medicine, the IMD Guest House keeps families connected so patients can heal quickly and completely.
Created in 2006, thousands of families and patients have stayed with IMD Guest House and the requests for this kind of accommodation still outweigh the available space. Setting occupancy records nearly every month, the foundation works with every hospital in the Illinois Medical District and is currently undergoing a massive expansion to accommodate more families and patients.
I had a chance to tour the expansion and renovation project in October and the space is beautiful and welcoming. The most a guest will ever pay for a night is $55 but approximately 60% of guests need financial assistance from the Foundation’s hardship fund. Underwriting approximately $55,000 in guest fees this year, the Foundation does a great job of ensuring that medical care and loved ones can be close together.
While I didn’t meet any guests of the Foundation, all of their stories, some of them heart wrenching, give thanks to the IMD Guest House.
“Before getting connected to the IMD Guest House, I was sleeping on three chairs with a few blankets and a pillow in the waiting room of the hospital. At one point I was sleeping on the counter.” – Verlita
“The staff here was so very courteous and especially kind. Our family is going through a tough time with our loved one at Rush Hospital. Thanks.” – Anonymous
“Without the IMD Guest House Foundation these trips to visit our family would be nearly impossible.” – Anonymous
Whether you’re looking for a charity to support this holiday season, or a place you can support year-round, it’s easy to get involved.
And as you go around the table this holiday season and talk about your blessings and loved ones, please remember the guests of IMD Guest House and their loved ones.