Beloved Visionary & Co-Founder
We at Family House mourn the loss of Dr. Art Ablin, beloved Co-Founder of our organization and a true visionary.
Art was Professor Emeritus at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, where he served as Chief of Pediatric Oncology, and was a leader in his field. Art was both a general pediatrician and pediatric oncologist who treated scores of young patients since the 1950s, as well as a friend and mentor to countless folks lucky enough to know him. Among his many good works is the creation of Family House in 1981, which started because of his vision and commitment to all families whose children face cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Out of a desire to provide family-centered care in partnership with UCSF, Art’s vision was to provide free housing and basic needs for the families of seriously ill young patients. In the 1980s, Art noticed many of his young patients’ family members sleeping in their cars or in hospital waiting rooms, unable to pay for a hotel. “Family House was set up as cost-free place for families to stay, but also as a center based very much on communal experience, so these families could share with each other what they were going through,” Art said.
In 1981, Art and others raised nearly $500,000 to buy housing from the Mormon Church that sat adjacent to the UCSF Children’s Hospital (later UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital), with the intention of providing housing for patients’ families. With the opening of the new Nancy and Stephen Grand Family House, Debbie and Art Ablin have ensured that families will always have a home to turn to when patients need medical attention in San Francisco.
While Art was a highly regarded physician and internationally sought-after speaker on the topic of pediatric hematology, his compassion and unwavering dedication to children and families at Family House for the past 36 years has produced a model of community that we celebrate this day and every day of the year. Those of us who had the unbelievable pleasure of working with Art since Family House was founded 36 years ago know that his talent, passion, wisdom, humor, and loving spirit infuse every aspect of our organization and the work we do for kids and families. Art’s inherent talent for nurturing what is best in us will live on as we are inspired by his values and humanity.
From all of us and the thousands of families that have stayed at Family House, we will remember Art with the great respect and love that he gave so freely to others.
We are so lucky to have known him and will miss him deeply.