Christopher’s Haven provides low cost housing for childhood cancer patients and their families

After Joyce Duvall’s friend was diagnosed with cancer, he witnessed the need to house families who traveled to help care for loved ones.

This prompted Duvall to help found Christophe’s paradise. The non-profit organization provides low-cost housing for childhood cancer patients and their families while they receive treatment.

The organization started in Boston and expanded to Atlanta This year.

Christopher’s Haven has four units in 131 Ponce Apartments, just across the street from the Emory Proton Processing Center, one of the best centers in the country for reducing the risk of radiation in children. The Center provides high-quality treatment to approximately 17,000 patients per year and is one of the top-ranked cancer programs in America, according to American News and World Report.

According to Christopher’s Haven, about half of the centre’s pediatric patients came from outside the Atlanta area. In these situations, families often have to pay a large hotel bill or find it difficult to get around with a very sick child.

Treatment typically takes six to eight weeks, and the Atlanta hotel costs an average of $ 112 per night this month, according to a analysis by, which means the fees can add up.

Since the apartments became available in March, 13 families have come to stay in the Midtown apartments. The building offers a swimming pool, courtyards and games, which children encounter with a joy that Duvall compares to Christmas morning.

A family enjoying their new apartment. (Photo courtesy of Christopher’s Haven)

“When I see how emotional they are to be able to have a home while they’re going through this, not just a hotel, it just keeps me going,” said Duvall, executive director of Christopher’s Haven. “We have had 500 families now that we have taken care of [and] they are the strongest people I have ever met, and it is the most heartbreaking thing I have ever witnessed.

Staying in the apartments costs $ 30 a night, but only one of the 13 families visiting Atlanta paid out of pocket. The association works with foundations that will cover the costs, and if a family is unable to pay, it will not be turned down.

A mother described, in a video, receiving her daughter’s diagnosis and having to travel 150 miles for treatment at Emory’s Proton Center.

“One of the most important things I said to my husband was, ‘I don’t know where we’re going to stay or what we’re going to do. We’re going to have to drive the 2 hours and 30 minutes, ”she said. “Being here with Christopher’s Haven made it a lot easier. It’s a blessing, nothing less than a blessing, honestly.

Bree Eaton, Pediatric Medical Director at the Emory Proton Center, added, “When we meet patients and explain to them what they’re going to go through, we can tell them, ‘It’s okay, we’ve got a place to go. you can stay, ”is incredibly heartwarming for the families and gives me personal comfort in knowing that they are going to be okay.

In addition to board and lodging, Christopher’s Haven provides support and community for families. The pandemic has cut back on social activities, but Duvall plans to offer family outings, such as tickets to a Braves game, once the pandemic subsides.

Duvall also hopes to secure ten more apartments, two of which are available to serve as meeting and event space by the end of the year. Atlanta Apartments are provided in partnership with Haverty’s and the Chick-Fil-A Foundation.

Haverty’s provides apartment furniture to the association and installs it free of charge. (Photo courtesy of Christopher’s Haven)

Haverty has donated full furnishings for the apartments and will continue to donate its services for the future expansion of the nonprofit organization in Atlanta, according to senior vice president Rawson Haverty.

Haverty discovered the association and its mission through his work on the Board of Directors of the Chick-Fil-A Foundation, and he immediately wanted to get involved.

“We are very grateful to Christopher’s Haven [because] they have identified this really incredibly important need, that if they don’t have it, it makes it much more difficult for these families to go through this treatment, ”said Haverty. “This is very important for families, and you can see it just by visiting them… And yet the extraordinary courage of these children and what they are going to go through is the reward because you provide them with a safe place to go through. something that is almost unimaginable.

The Atlanta community has been “so kind, generous and caring,” said Duvall, and the nonprofit needs continued support to expand its services.

If you or someone you know has had cancer, consider donating to Christopher’s Haven to support their mission to provide an affordable place for child patients and their families. If you need accommodation for you and your child receiving treatment, visit their website to apply.

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