Home > Family Stories > When I’m here at the Believe In Tomorrow House I feel “normal.”
Emily Kolenda at Ravens Trainig Camp

Emily is not your typical 14-year old. Diagnosed two years ago, Emily bravely faces monthly week-long chemotherapy inpatient treatments. During her treatment free weeks, she is often back in the hospital due to fevers or other issues. But, when she is out of the hospital, Emily loves the fun of arcades, waterparks and any new adventures that come her way. Emily’s mom, Kelly, first learned of Believe in Tomorrow through a family whose daughter was undergoing treatment at the same hospital. Once Kelly learned about the Respite Housing program, she knew this would be an amazing opportunity for their entire family.

The Respite Housing program has allowed Emily and her family to have uninterrupted, distraction-free time. At Ocean City, MD, Emily and her two younger sisters have racked up high scores at Fun City Arcade; and been faced with the tough decisions of which water slide to try out next at the Jolly Roger Amusement Park. From fishing trips, to complimentary dinners at local restaurants, the family has been able to regroup and focus on each other.

Kelly, told us that being together as a family and getting a break from the medical treatments means more than she can put into words. Due to logistics, families with critically ill children often have to spend time apart during treatments. This time apart, coupled with the treatments high medical costs makes getting away an unaffordable luxury. The Respite Housing program, with the associated donated activities and meals, enables families to simply enjoy each other’s companionship—which is priceless.