Generous gift helps cancer patients and families in times of need


Photo credit: Lexi Grace Design

Christopher Todd Communities built by Taylor Morrison donates Mesa home rent-free for a year for use by Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center patients

A special residence located at Christopher Todd Communities at Ellsworth in Mesa was recently filled with volunteers readying the property for special guests arriving in early April: a man undergoing cancer treatments and his longtime partner, who had been living in a camper van. The leased home was donated rent-free for use by Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center patients who travel from outside the Valley to receive outpatient care. Patients whose treatment protocols require weeks or months of daily therapy, those participating in clinical trials, and post-op patients recovering from stem-cell transplants and other surgeries must stay within a 15-minute drive of the Cancer Center. Insurance does not cover the cost of a hotel or motel stay, and many nonprofit residences for cancer patients closed during the pandemic, creating a significant financial barrier to patients receiving the treatments they need.

Jess “Jac” Conant and Carol Perry, formerly of Mesa, have been touring the country during their retirement years, enjoying great American adventures until Jac’s cancer diagnosis earlier this year when they were living in Oregon. They selected Banner MD Anderson in Gilbert for care because of its excellent reputation and Jac and Carol’s Mesa roots. But living in a small camper van while undergoing extensive outpatient treatment was going to be a challenge and paying for a hotel room for an extended period of time was problematic.

The Banner Health Foundation launched the Home Away From Home campaign in 2019 to build an endowment that, year after year, helps offset the cost of temporary housing for cancer patients—just one way to reduce patient stress and anxiety during an already challenging time in their life. Social workers and patient navigators work with partner hotels and motels to secure discounted rates, and financial assistance is awarded to qualifying patients. When Christopher Todd Communities built by Taylor Morrison learned of the need, they knew they could help.

Cancer patient Jac Conant and his
partner Carol Perry visit their new
home away from home for the first

Christopher Todd Communities Built By Taylor Morrison learned of the Home Away From Home program and knew they could help, especially since their newest community just opened in Mesa near the Cancer Center.

"Both Taylor Morrison and Christopher Todd Communities have strong philanthropic company cultures. Aligning with Banner MD Anderson to provide a temporary home away from home for cancer patients was synergistic and we are honored we can help,” said Todd Wood, CEO of Christopher Todd Communities.

Taylor Morrison, the builder of Christopher Todd Communities At Ellsworth, donated a two-bedroom home, rent-free for a year and Christopher Todd Communities provided financial support to Banner Health Foundation to help furnish the home. Many other companies and individuals have contributed time, talent, and treasure to provide everything one would need to feel at home, including Lexi Grace Design, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Bed DRS, Debbie Gaby Charities, Marcus Bolland and many others.

“It’s a blessing. It’s a miracle,” said Jess Conant upon seeing the home for the first time this week.

“On behalf of everyone at Banner MD Anderson and all of our patients, we are so grateful for these generous donations to serve our patients and care partners in need,” says Dr. Rogerio Lilenbaum, Senior Physician Executive for Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center. “A safe, comfortable place to lay your head at night is so important on the cancer journey, and this furnished home will provide the next-best thing to being in one’s own bed. We are thrilled to be able to offer this option to patients who need to stay close by for their own safety and treatment protocols.”

“We all know someone who has been impacted by cancer and are humbled to provide respite to patients on a path to wellness,” said Taylor Morrison Build-to-Rent national president Darin Rowe.