Guest Apartment For Bone Marrow Transplant Patients

July 22, 2015
By: Karen E. Butler, Director of Communications, DCI

Roger Frechette, Mount Airy, North Carolina, stands in the kitchen of the newly renovated apartment at Caring House. Frechette and his wife, Kathleen Noyes, are the first to guest at the apartment which is dedicated to Duke patients undergoing bone marrow transplant. Noyes was diagnosed in 2002 with myelofibrosis, a serious bone marrow disorder disrupting the body's normal production of blood cells.Caring House, a local non-profit dedicated to providing affordable housing for Duke cancer patients and their caregivers, held a ribbon cutting July 16 to celebrate its newly-renovated guest apartment — an apartment dedicated exclusively to bone marrow transplant patients.

“You’re looking at the next generation of Caring House,” said board chair Bill Shore, as he addressed a gathering of more than 75 guests, including Friends of Caring House, DUHS faculty and staff and distinguished members from the community. “It takes everyone and, together, we want to we want to share as much of the Caring House concept as possible.”

The renovation was made possible as a result of a $150,000 donation from Duke University Health System. “This gift represents our deep commitment to the important mission of Caring House,” said William J. Fulkerson, Jr, MD, executive vice president of Duke University Health System.

Flanked to his right by Caring House board chair Bill Shore, Durham Mayor Bill Bell speaks to guests attending the Caring House ribbon cutting on July 16.The 1,300-square-foot guest apartment features a fully equipped kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom and three bedrooms. Established in 1992, Caring House has 18 private guest rooms with ensuite bathrooms, a community kitchen, large dining room, great room, laundry room, library, exercise area and multiple outdoor gardens. The new apartment is specially designed to meet the unique needs of patients undergoing bone marrow transplant treatment. It includes its own private outdoor patio.

“This apartment is awesome,” said Mount Airy resident Roger Frechette, whose wife, Kathleen Noyes, is undergoing a bone marrow transplant for a second time. “We incurred a great deal of expense the first time. It’s a relief to know we won’t have to navigate those same financial burdens. It’s an oasis here.”

In closing, Mayor Bill Bell, who was visiting Caring House for the first time, expressed his first impressions.

“It just feels like home,” he said, smiling broadly. “It really does.”

1. Caroline Sarratt, MSHA, administrative director, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center; and Gabriel Alcantara, MBA, division administrator, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, pose with cell therapy and hematologic malignancies specialist Nelson Chao, MD, MBA, Chief, Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy. Sarratt serves on the Caring House board of directors.

2. MaryAnn Black, associate vice president, DUHS Office of Community Relations, takes a moment to pose just before the the ribbon cutting ceremony. Black is a former member of Caring House's board of directors.

3. Roger Frechette, of Mount Airy, is greeted by Martha Uzzle, one of the four Caring House founders. Frechette and his wife, Kathleen Noyes, are the first to guest in the newly remodeled guest apartment.

4. Ribbon Cutting from left to right: Steven Patierno, PhD, deputy director, DCI; Nelson Chao, MD, MBA; Bill Shore; Durham Mayor Bill Bell; Roger Frechette; and Caring House founders Frankie DuBose and Martha Uzzle.