Safe and sound: Thunderbirds Charities gives cancer patients a home away from home


A $75,000 grant to the Banner
MD Anderson Cancer Center will help
provide a safe home away from home.

Thunderbirds Charities recently awarded $75,000 to the Patient Housing Assistance Fund at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center to help provide a safe home away from home for patients battling cancer. The Thunderbirds also awarded the program $100,000 in 2019, and these funds have been put to immediate use to assist patients in need.

Many cancer treatment protocols compromise the patient’s immune system as they work to treat the disease, and some treatment protocols require daily therapy or ongoing monitoring by the Cancer Center oncology teams. This requires patients to remain close to the Cancer Center for weeks or even months at their own expense if they live outside the geographic boundary. For many, the financial burden is too great, resulting in life-threatening delays or lapses in treatment.

The Patient Housing Assistance Fund provides financial assistance to qualifying patients to help cover the cost of local lodging, and program administrators work with partner hotels and motels to find patients the lowest possible rates and safest locations for patients.

The Patient Housing Assistance Fund
provides patients a bit of comfort and
relief during the fight of their lives.

Last year, housing plans fell through for a young patient named Joe* who had undergone a stem-cell transplant, a life-saving procedure that increases the risk of infection for several weeks or months. Not only was his home beyond the required geographical distance for safe monitoring, it is a small space he shares with eight family members and only one bathroom – potentially exposing him to infection, especially during flu season. The family could not afford the required lengthy post-transplant stay at a hotel and had exhausted all other temporary housing options.

Fortunately, after applying for and receiving help from the Cancer Patient Housing Assistance Fund, Joe and his caregiver found an affordable place to stay close the Cancer Center. This financial assistance made all the difference for this family that was already under stress due to Joe’s health.

“To be able to provide our community with safe, comfortable and convenient lodging while fighting a battle with cancer is gratifying – and what our organization is all about,” says Tim Woods, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “We hope that our continuing commitment to Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center and its housing assistance program will make a lasting difference in the Valley and ease some of the financial challenges cancer patients face.”

Thunderbirds Charities is the charitable arm of the Phoenix Thunderbirds, granting funds raised through the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open. The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to assist children and families, help people in need, and improve the quality of life in our communities.

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center patients undergoing treatment for cancer have severely compromised immune systems and, often, treatment protocols that require long-term daily therapy, which necessitates they remain close to the Center for days, weeks or even months. Many patients are unable to afford long-term hotel, motel or other accommodations near the Center. The neediest have few options. The Cancer Patient Housing Assistance program helps cancer patients continue to receive the best care by supporting them to obtain safe, comfortable and affordable lodgings.

Want to make a difference? Learn how you can support The Home Away From Home campaign here.

*Name changed to protect patient privacy