“Almost like being at home”: That’s the feeling that families with children suffering from cancer get when they stay at the ‘Blaues Haus’ in Stuttgart. While a young person is being treated in the nearby Olgahospital, their parents and siblings can stay in the Blue House. Drees & Sommer is supporting the project with a donation.
Since 1982, the Stuttgart-based support group ’Förderkreis krebskranke Kinder’ – has been helping young cancer patients and their families both during and after treatment. The non-profit association has some 500 members and is financed almost exclusively by donations. The association’s Blue House offers a temporary home for parents, siblings and other relatives while young patients undergo treatment in the nearby children’s hospital. And since 2019, the Blue House has also maintained an information center with group support programs and personal counselling for families covering all aspects of after-care. The association also supports the hospital’s pediatric oncology ward by providing financial assistance for drama therapy and the work of educators and psychologists.
It is not always possible to provide accommodation for parents at the hospital, particularly when young patients are undergoing lengthy courses of treatment. And many families cannot afford to stay in a hotel or apartment for a long period.
That’s where the Blue House helps. The 17 apartments, each with its own kitchenette and bathroom, allow families to recharge their batteries to cope with the hospital routine. Common areas, such as the living room, a large games room, and an attractive kitchen with a conservatory and garden, also help guests feel at home. Joint activities such as cooking evenings, parties, and various programs run by volunteers provide a distraction and promote personal interaction.
The Blue House is also financed almost exclusively by donations. Reimbursements from health insurance funds and the parents’ own contributions only cover a fraction of the costs, for example for the heating, lighting and cleaning of the 900-square-meter building. Staff are also required – not only to deal with repairs, check-in and check-out – but also to lend a sympathetic ear to parents’ concerns and engage in heart-to-heart conversations with them. We are supporting the association with a donation of €2,000, because we believe that the Blue House provides incredibly valuable support for families of children with cancer, and that the future of this service must be secured. The donation will be used to fund the construction of an urgently needed ramp for wheelchair access to the building.
“I never expected that one could be confronted – from one day to the next – with children suffering from cancer. The association and its staff provide a really important service and deserve support. A big thank you to all employees and the many volunteers.”
Natascha Altensen, Drees & Sommer, project initiator