WHO WE ARE
Since 1979 The Boston House: Hope and Healing for Children with Cancer has served as a home away from home for children with cancer and their families. As an essential part of their overall care, The House provides its guests with no-cost and convenient accommodations in a safe and comfortable home-like setting. Here, children, families, and caregivers find comfort and support among staff, volunteers, and other families facing the life-changing realities of childhood cancer and other life-threatening hematological illnesses.
Our House, conveniently located on Kent Street in Brookline, is within walking distance of Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic. The House can accommodate up to 22 families each night. The Main House has nine bedrooms that will accommodate up to four people with shared bathrooms and common areas, including access to a fully equipped kitchen.
For families with a child recovering from a bone marrow transplant, we have 14 studio apartments with individual bathrooms and kitchenettes. All families have access to free laundry, on site and amenities such as Wi-Fi, a playroom and playground, daily taxi vouchers to the hospital and grocery store, free parking for one car and periodic dinners provided by volunteers.
The Boston House originally opened its doors in Brookline in 1979, at the time establishing itself as the eighth Ronald McDonald House in the country. The House was a dream of the Friends of the Jimmy Fund, a group of parents whose children were treated for cancer at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic. As a result of their tireless work combined with the support of local McDonald’s Restaurant owner/operators and hundreds of generous people, companies and foundations, this dream became reality. Since its opening, thousands of children with cancer and their families have lived in the House that love built at minimal or no cost and with much support.
The Main House, which houses up to nine families per night in a communal setting, is a striking Victorian mansion, built in 1868 and restored periodically with much original detail.
The Transplant Recovery House, better known as “The Carriage House,” the first of its kind in the country, was converted in 1985 from an existing Carriage House on the grounds to a facility with seven fully furnished studio apartments, designed to house young patients who have received a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Bone marrow and stem cell transplant surgery leaves the patient with a severely weakened immune system requiring a significant recuperation period. Our apartments allow the family to stay together while their child’s post-transplant immune system is strengthened. The Carriage House, with its seven self-contained studio apartments, provides the necessary environment for recovery, and allows children and their families to recuperate in a home-like setting.
In 1994, The Boston House completed a $1 million expansion to meet an increasing demand for bone marrow and stem-cell recovery facilities. The Annex was built to the back of the Main House and includes six additional studio apartments for those recovering from bone marrow or stem cell transplants.
How we are funded
The Boston House is an independent community-supported nonprofit organization [501(c)(3). Since we ended our affiliation with Ronald McDonald House Charities in 2017, 100% of funding for The Boston House comes from companies in the community, organizations, foundations, and individuals, like you!
How we are run
The Boston House Board of Directors oversees The House. Our Board includes family members whose children or siblings received treatment for childhood cancer (or are survivors themselves), medical staff from Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, and members of the community.
The Boston House is an independent, community-supported nonprofit organization. To supplement our core staff of six, we have over 100 volunteers who range in age from 16 to 76! Volunteers cover daily and weekly shifts, as well as provide weekend and holiday relief for staff. Volunteers also implement special projects that can include enhancing security, cleaning carpets, securing donations to furnish The House, holding fundraisers and making home cooked meals for families.
Our medical partners
Since we began our relationship with Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s (DFCI) Jimmy Fund Clinic more than 35 years ago, our partnerships with these two institutions have grown. Staff communicates with hospital staff to ensure that The House is serving patients who need to be here for medical reasons and to troubleshoot and problem solve should there be a need. Staff attends monthly Patient Satisfaction Rounds with the staff of the Clinical Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation Center, to speak with families who are staying at The House and answer any questions they may have.
Because of these relationships, these three institutions are able to provide coordinated and seamless services, resulting in a more positive and efficient experience for children and their families.
Professionals from DFCI’s Jimmy Fund Clinic and Boston Children’s Hospital contribute to The House in several ways:
- Top administrators are active members of and advisors to our Board of Directors and of our Medical Subcommittee;
- The institutions assist with operating costs and many in-kind services; and
- Hospital staff members volunteer their time and services to the House and to support House events.
Working along with key personnel in oncology, The Boston House provides a continuum of care for children as they undergo surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or bone marrow and stem cell transplants. As DFCI/Children’s Hospital Cancer Care Chief of Staff Emeritus (and one of the founder’s of the House) Dr. Stephen E. Sallan emphasized, “The Boston House is as much a part of what we do at Dana-Farber and Children’s Hospital as the pediatric doctors, nurses, staff, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. As a pediatric oncologist, I can hardly remember—and definitely can no longer imagine—practicing in this field without the help of The House.”
It is the mission and the honor of The Boston House to serve families who come to Boston from all over the world so that their children can receive the best of care at Dana-Farber Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. The House is a low-cost housing alternative, but more than a place to stay, it is a home-away-from-home, a respite from hospital life, and a special place where families can be together, share stories with other families in a similar situation, and lean on one another for support.