A Lasting Legacy for Kids
Two-year-old Noel never met Brent Eley. However, Brent’s legacy is absolutely shaping Noel’s recovery from a life-threatening illness.
Young Brent Eley passed away from complications related to his bone marrow transplant in 1988, just one year after being diagnosed with a fast-growing cancer. Because his family was forced to relocate to another state for treatment and because no safe and clean lodgings existed to manage Brent’s compromised immune system, the family lived in a rental home for approximately 160 days - a scenario that was quite dangerous to his health but that was the only option. The family found themselves far from home and balancing the many demands of caring for an immunocompromised child all on their own during the most difficult time of their lives.
After Brent’s passing, his family formed the Brent Eley Foundation and established Brent’s Place, a facility that ensures that patients and families who are far from home seeking a medical miracle don’t have to confront the same challenges the Eley family faced. Safe lodging and support services are provided throughout the long treatment and recovery process.
Which brings us back to how Brent’s legacy is shaping the world of two-year-old Noel and his family.
Two-year-old Noel loves the color blue, cheese pizza, Peppa Pig, basketball, puppies and PlayDoh. Noel was recently diagnosed with a rare disease called aplastic anemia.
Noel’s health situation became even more fragile when an underlying and conflicting syndrome was discovered - myelodysplastic syndrome - which indicated that his aplastic anemia, if left uncured, had a high chance of turning into leukemia.
Not all hematologists specialize in Noel’s condition, which forced his family to move far from their small Wyoming town of 6,000 to a larger city in Montana. When Noel required even more specialized care, he and his family relocated to Aurora, Colorado, where he could receive treatment at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Families who are seeking treatments that aren’t available in their hometowns arrive in their new city anxious about their child’s health and feeling the loss of their familiar support networks and systems. They are often financially devastated from costly testing and treatment.
For these reasons, the nonprofit Brent’s Place exists for young patients like Noel. Brent’s Place has facilities in close proximity to world-class Rocky Mountain region hospitals, and these facilities offer families safe and clean shelter and support services that address the many medical and lifestyle challenges that accompany immunocompromising health situations and treatments. For families like Noel’s, Brent’s Place represents a chance to stay together, manage their finances, and build rapport with others walking the same difficult path.
Designated Safe-Clean Housing
Noel and his family arrived at Brent’s Place in March 2018 for testing, treatment and preparatory procedures in anticipation of a bone marrow transplant (BMT) to cure his aplastic anemia. Today, he’s in-patient at the hospital and has started the BMT transplant process.
Brent’s Place is the only hospitality home in the nation that offers and accomplishes the following for hematology and oncology patients like Noel:
Life’s Daily Tasks & Celebrations
Respite care, tailored to address the unique needs of immunocompromised kids battling critical illness, is a crucial asset for residents while they are far from home. Brent’s Place offers to each family member a wide variety of personalized support programs that address their emotional, social, educational and physical needs.
For Noel’s family, this type of respite care and programming included celebrating his sister Emma’s 4th birthday. Sibling support is a critical aspect of Brent’s Place services. The siblings may not be patients, but they also are dealing with stress and uncertainty. Brent’s Place seeks to foster opportunities for happy memories at every turn – and that includes caregivers, too, which is why Noel’s mother Tatiana received a gift card on her birthday to buy something special for herself.
Residents are welcome to participate in volunteer-prepared meals, craft nights, movie nights, excursions into the community, tutoring/educational support for kids who can’t attend school, sessions with a licensed therapist, transportation support, holiday celebrations, and more. Extended family members are welcome to stay for a visit in hospitality suites free of charge.
A Respite Today & Tomorrow
Noel arrived at the facility six weeks before his bone marrow transplant to cure his aplastic anemia; and, his family will stay for several months afterward as he heals and gains strength. In total, they are likely to remain at Brent’s Place for at least six months.
Brent’s Place serves families before, during and after treatment making this nonprofit entirely unique. Kids frequently have follow-up visits for months or years after they go back home and, when they return, they are welcomed back to Brent’s Place. As the industry leader in bone marrow transplant housing and comprehensive support programs uniquely tailored for pediatric oncology and hematology patients, Brent's Place provides Rocky Mountain region families who travel far from home with increased access to medical care options, as well as relief from the staggering emotional, financial and physical burdens they face. It’s the peace of mind patients and families deserve so they can focus on healing.
20 Years at Brent’s Place
For more information about Brent’s Place visit
http://brentsplace.org | FB @BrentsPlace | Twitter @BrentsPlaceCO | Instagram @brentsplace