Treatment for children with cancer is long (typically anywhere from eight months to three years) and requires frequent and regular visits to hospitals, sometimes with fairly long periods of hospitalisation. Families not living in major centres have additional stresses placed on them as they have to travel to cities and be absent from the family home while they support their child through this difficult time. At the same time, they face unexpected financial difficulties.
Usually one parent has to spend long periods in a city or large town while the child is in hospital and he or she needs accommodation. Sometimes children do not have to be in hospital but are required to attend out-patient clinics daily for a week at a time and they and their parents, need a safe and nurturing home from home. These stays vary from a week to nine months or even longer in the case of bone-marrow transplant patients.
The CHOC House programme endeavours to provide a temporary home for the parent or care giver and child during treatment periods in a house close to the hospital. They can relax and be with other families facing similar difficulties. Statistics prove that having a caring and supportive environment in which to stay can assist considerably in reducing the rate of abandonment of treatment by families.
CHOC has been fortunate enough, through donations, to be able to purchase seven houses which are situated in Saxonwold and Soweto (x two), Johannesburg, Pretoria, East London, Cape Town and Bloemfontein. In Durban and Tygerberg (Cape Town), CHOC leases premises from the hospital – these premises are known as lodges.
Apart from the initial purchase costs of the houses, it is often necessary to make significant modifications to adapt them to suit the needs of the parents and children. This may involve adding bedrooms, bathrooms or recreational areas and/or adapting part of the property for use by the house supervisor as well as the purchasing of furniture and fittings. Due to the growing awareness of childhood cancer, it has become necessary to enlarge premises in several of the divisions.
For further information on each of our divisions follow the links below: