Located at 4300 Markham Street across from the Little Rock campus of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Home for Healing offers free lodging to parents of NICU infants, cancer patients + their caregivers, and caregivers of ICU patients. Now, Home for Healing welcomes adult cancer patients from UAMS, Baptist Health, CHI ST Vincent, Arkansas Urology and teenagers from Arkansas Children’s. Since its inception in 2003, the peaceful + restorative environment makes it a beacon of hope during a journey back to wellness. The UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Auxiliary was instrumental in the inception of Home for Healing – these members share insight + perspective.
Witnessing the overwhelming stress of sickness, emotional fatigue and logistics, six women recognized an urgent need for an effective cancer support center and set out to cultivate a community with a shared vision. The result is a sanctuary known as Home for Healing.
As members of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Auxiliary, these volunteers realized a safe haven for cancer patients and caregivers could eliminate some of the burden.
Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Director of Volunteer Services/Auxiliary and founding member of the UAMS Family Home Board of Directors, Janie Lowe elaborates, “We wanted a place where patient support groups could meet, where patients could relax and find solace, and where they could gather helpful information for their cancer journey.” The small but mighty group visited cancer support centers for ideas and learn more. Lou Ellen Treadway notes, “We developed a plan and knew we had to help patients who had no place to stay, no money, no friends or family – they had a great deal of fear.”
The women next turned to key business and civic leaders. With guidance from UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Director Dr. Kent Westbrook, the auxiliary explored possible properties on the UAMS campus and surrounding neighborhoods. Sam Perroni had recently organized and incorporated a non-profit organization with plans to create a guesthouse similar to the Ronald McDonald House that would welcome UAMS cancer patients and their caregivers and parents of NICU babies. Joining with Sam provided just the platform that was needed. “It was a leap of faith,” Janie remembers. With an initial $200,000 pledge from the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Auxiliary, and continued development and fundraising efforts, six auxiliary members – Linda Bowlby, Robin Dean, Janie Lowe, Jane Teed, Lou Ellen Treadway, and Doll Wilkins— comprised part of the initial UAMS Family Home Board of Directors.
In 2003, the UAMS Family Home – today’s Home for Healing – welcomed its first guests. Robin Dean, a beloved auxiliary member and cancer support center coordinator, played a pivotal role and served as an unofficial director for many years. Janie shares, “Home for Healing started with a group of volunteers who wanted our guests to have the best.” Executive Director Kristin Trulock adds, “We pride ourselves in helping our guests break barriers that interfere with the healing process whether it be hunger, transportation, services, or support. They become our family throughout their stay and the rest of their lives.”
Under Kristin’s leadership, the Home has surpassed all expectations imagined by these six faithful women. Janie shares, “Kristin has the same love in her heart that Robin and the dedicated volunteers have and never misses an opportunity to enrich the lives of the guests. She has brought Home for Healing to a new level of support, compassion and assistance. Watching Home for Healing start as a leap of faith to a well-run, proficiently operated and inviting home with personal attention to each and every guest who enters the door is a dream come true for those who have been a part of this journey.” With 20 years of service, Home for Healing continues to enrich lives and remains a testament to the transformative power of empathy, community, and the pursuit of a common vision.