Henry’s Story

by Arleen Bandarrae

Published on June 20, 2023

Photo of Henry and his mom Taylor and dad Daniel

Henry had just celebrated his first birthday when doctors discovered a sizeable mass on his brain. He was swiftly airlifted from the hospital in his hometown of Fresno to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Shortly after, Henry’s parents, Taylor and Daniel, were shocked and devastated to learn their baby had brain cancer.

“Family House saved us at the worst time of our life,” said Henry’s mom, Taylor, as she recalled their first experience at Family House. Exhausted after 48 sleepless hours at the hospital, Henry’s parents took the advice of a compassionate social worker and made their way to Family House to take a shower and get some sleep.

“Family House made it so that the only thing we had to focus on was our baby, which is amazing,” said Taylor. Taylor and Daniel were overwhelmed with gratitude for having a place so close to the hospital where they could find comfort and emotional support when Henry began his first chemotherapy treatment in August of 2022.

The Magic of Family House

Now, after months of visiting Family House on and off during Henry’s treatment, Taylor and Daniel describe their Family House experience as nothing short of amazing.

Upon arriving at Family House, they often hear “Henry is back!” or “He’s getting so big!” and it means the world to them. They feel how much Family House staff care and know they’re truly invested in how their family is doing.

At Family House, they have had the opportunity to bond with other parents dealing with similar challenges, coping with the stress and heartbreak of having children who are faced with life-threatening illnesses. Ironically, Taylor and Daniel met and are now close friends with another family from their hometown of Fresno.

“It’s really wild. We’ve met very good friends here,” said Daniel. “It’s the best community ever and we’ve been able to bond over things most people don’t understand.”

In conclusion, Taylor’s heartfelt words best express the impact that Family House has had on their lives. “We feel very lucky to have the opportunity to stay here. Family House has become our second home. Henry spends more time here than anywhere else, and it’s evident in the peaceful sleep he enjoys—last night, he slept soundly for a remarkable 13 hours. The peace of mind we have here is truly amazing and we are immensely grateful.”

Family House San Francisco is an independent non-profit organization led by a professional staff and board of directors dedicated to providing residential services free of charge to qualifying families. Since we receive no financial support from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital or any other public entity, we rely solely on the generous contributions of individuals, corporations, and foundations.

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