Meet the Richey Family
Published on January 4, 2023
“In 1996, we spent several months at Family House while our newborn daughter was treated for cancer. She is now a 26-year-old nurse!” – Kate and Steven Richey
Although Kelsey was too young to remember being treated for cancer as an infant, there’s one thing she knows for sure:
“I feel it deep in my soul. I was so well taken care of, and now I want to give back to others,” said Kelsey, who is now 26 years old.
Kelsey was born on Jan. 25, 1996, to Kate and Steven Richey, in Reno, Nevada. She was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancerous tumor affecting infants and young children, and was flown to UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco for specialized care.
During Kelsey’s hospitalization, her parents stayed at Family House, which was nestled on Irving Street in the City’s Inner Sunset neighborhood and housed 10 patient families at the time. This was the original location of Family House that was established in 1981 by Dr. Arthur Ablin, Chief of Clinical Pediatric Oncology at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and others, as a cost-free place for patient families to stay.
After months of care, Kelsey recovered sufficiently to be sent home. And, she has been in complete remission for the past 24 years.
Today Kelsey is a registered nurse at an Urgent Care facility in Bend, Oregon. It was her strong desire to take care of others that led her to a career in nursing. “I know how it feels,” Kelsey tells her patients. She opens up about being treated for cancer as a child to connect with her patients, to let them know they are not alone, and to give them hope.
A Commitment to Family House
For Kelsey’s parents, Family House was a home to come back to after hours at the hospital during Kelsey’s treatment. They were surrounded by a supportive community and were able to connect with other parents facing similar circumstances.
“Kelsey was our first child and we found ourselves living in a nightmare,” recalled Kate, as she described the first days after Kelsey’s diagnosis. “We were in shock trying to absorb and understand the diagnosis and the last thing on our minds was where to stay. When we learned about Family House it was a light in a dark tunnel. We were so concentrated on our baby’s health, having Family House was one less thing we had to worry about.”
“Family House saved us. And in return, we want to help provide comfort for others too,” Kate explained.
The Richey family supports Family House today and have done so for the past two decades.
Since then, a lot has changed. Today, the Nancy & Stephen Grand Family House is located a few blocks from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Mission Bay. The new building can house up to 80 families per night and offers communal kitchens and living spaces, a toy room, outdoor courtyard, and more. What remains the same, is the love and compassion that made such a positive impact on the Richeys lives so many years ago.
The Richey family feels incredibly fortunate to be part of the Family House community and are grateful to the UCSF pediatricians who took care of Kelsey. In the United States, about 600 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year. Today, Kate reaches out to other neuroblastoma parents and shares her story to provide hope and reassurance.
Richey Family Photo, December 2022
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.