Local house makes Buffalo feel like home for out-of-towners here for medical treatment

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — At the foot of the site where the new Women and Children’s hospital will be sits a house.

“More people are coming to Buffalo to receive care and to be able to create a comprehensive system around supporting them is really important for us to do to as we build up the medical facilities in the area,” said Kate Heidinger, the Development and Campaign Officer for the Kevin Guest House.

That’s the house at the base of the project and right in the middle of the developing Medical Campus and that’s where the support is coming from. The Kevin Guest House includes around 24 rooms and apartments housing more than 1200 patients and their families yearly as they receive treatment at nearby hospitals.

“Buffalo is the city of good neighbors so I think that we really try to sort of pay it forward and give to those who are in need,” said Heidinger.

One of the people feeling the support is Cathy Spence.

“It’s just to keep you close by in case there are any problems or emergencies,” said Spence who is one of the guests at Kevin’s House.

Spence lives in a rural community in Ontario. In September, the mom of two was diagnosed with Bone Marrow Cancer. She started receiving chemotherapy at a Toronto hospital. She was set up to receive a bone marrow transplant there but it fell through. She needed on as soon as possible and was matched with someone in Buffalo – a city miles away from her home where she had never been.

“It was so urgent to come down and get the bone marrow transplant we figured we would just figure it out once we got here,” said Spence.

She arrived in Buffalo on February 15th and hasn’t returned home since then. Bone marrow transplants are required to stay within 40 minutes of the hospital they received their transplant for 100 days following the procedure, something that would have been costly for Spence if the Kevin Guest House didn’t exist.

“It gives me peace of mind.”

Spence says she now consider the city of good neighbors – which is lending her a helping hand during this time of need – her home away from home.

The Kevin Guest House is launching their first capital campaign right now. They recently purchased another location on Ellicott Street which would allow them to extend their services to 2400 people each year, double what they are able to serve now.

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