The HEADstrong Foundation, a charitable organization committed to improving lives affected by cancer through direct service to families, announced this week, that plans are underway to expand upon Nick’s House through a location which will serve those displaced to New York City in the pursuit of lifesaving cancer treatment. With great success, the HEADstrong Foundation has proudly operated Nick’s House serving the Greater Philadelphia Region since 2006. In that time, HEADstrong has emerged as a valued resource and compliment to the medical landscape of the region offering cancer centers the ability to cast a wider patient base while also providing support to families in the pursuit of exploratory oncology related treatment and clinical trials.
Nick’s Houses are friendly guest family homes which provide complimentary lodging, respite and support to families who have to travel for advanced care, clinical trials and/or transplants. Designed to meet the unique needs of both patients and their caregivers, Nick’s Houses provide families with a supportive cohabitation which seeks to nurture the mental wellbeing of its guests. Nicks Houses are strategically placed to ease the financial hardship and anxieties often contributing to families not pursuing best possible treatment options. Nick’s Houses are operated with a complimentary, extended stay format which provide guests with a balance of common and private space. Included at Nick’s Houses are workstations allowing caregivers to sustain employment status and remain productive alongside of virtual classrooms allowing children to stay engaged into scholastic requirements. In Philadelphia alone, Nick’s House provides more than 3,000 nights of comfort and support, relieving families of more than $2,000,000 in lodging related expenses.
“When physicians shared with our family that nothing more could be done for our Nick, we refused to give up hope. We learned of a clinical trial being offered in Bethesda, MD and that same day we packed the car and headed south. At that point, nothing else mattered, except for the “What if”. What if this clinical trial could save our child? As a parent first, I could not except the words “nothing more” and if there was nothing more, then what did we have to lose by trying. The last thing that entered our minds during this time was affordability. We just longed to have another day as a complete family and that is why guest families of Nick’s Houses pay nothing to stay with us.” – Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong Foundation President and Nick’s Mom
According to New York Real Estate News, the first quarter of 2018, saw the first increase in average daily room rates in Manhattan since 2014. Room rates rose 3.5 percent year over year, to nearly $216 per night according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. This is a harsh financial pill for families displaced to swallow. With sudden medical debt, being the leading cause of home foreclosure in the US, the practicality and feasibility of a relocation for treatment is not a consideration for most families feeling this true pitch, thus many families subsequently settle for mediocre care.
With a concentration of speciality clinicians practicing, pioneering research with accessibility to the most advanced medicine and most importantly an overwhelming demand, HEADstrong believes that a Nick’s House to serve those coming to New York is a solution to an existing healthcare crisis. HEADstrong wants to ensure that more people have the opportunity to explore every viable option for their loved ones. Nick’s House NYC will allow families the ability to put the best possible treatments on their destination plan, thus yielding the best possible outcomes.
HEADstrong has strong ties to New York as the organization was conceptualized in 2006, by Nicholas Colleluori, who was a student-athlete at Hofstra University in wake of being terminally diagnosed with cancer. His public fight from the sidelines captivated the nation and from his hospital bed he created an organization focused on empowering student-athletes to improve lives affected by the disease. His vision was simple yet critical; helping real families when they needed it most, providing support so that families may live with a greater dignity and normalcy. Colleluori fought to improve the inpatient experience, the affordability and accessibility of care and tackled the general concerns facing the patient population.
“We consider New York our “Home away from home” and believe that a Nick’s House location not only will allow us to strengthen our commitment to those we humbly serve, but also provide a tangible outlet to further engage our constituents in the Tri-State Area. Bringing Nick’s House to life in NYC is going to take an army and we believe that this project will unite people in the most incredible ways possible. Together, we will construct a true solution to an overshadowed problem preventing families from receiving life saving cancer care for themselves and or loved ones.
This call to action, is very sentimental to our family because over the past 12 years, we have had so much support from North Jersey, New York City and Long Island who carry our Nick’s torch. Nick’s House NYC will be yet another amazing project that will allow us to have the utmost impact on behalf of Nick and those in the fight.” says Colleluori
HEADstrong’s Development Team has begun a feasibility study interfacing with 2 comprehensive cancer centers in Manhattan. Once the pin has been dropped, the real estate exploration will commence, this is likely to be a 24 month process. HEADstrong is seeking a home within a commutable distance, accessible to lines of public transportation and a community’s embrace. In the latter part of 2019, HEADstrong plans to launch a major capital campaign for funding oriented toward the project.
For more information on the HEADstrong Foundation or to learn how you can get involved with bringing Nick’s House NYC to reality, please visit www.HEADstrong.org.