“Cancer doesn’t stop,” says Kathy’s House president and CEO Patty Metropulos. Especially during COVID, when mounting medical bills come on top of new pressures, like unemployment.
Kathy’s House runs the only hospital guest house in the Milwaukee metro area serving patients of all ages and their caregivers. Guests aren’t charged for their stay and instead can make a financial donation to help support their stay.
“Average donation [by a client] is $30 a night per room, and it costs us about $90 to run the room,” says Metropulos. “With the added layer of COVID, we’re seeing that nightly average [donation] going down.”
Ground for the new, much larger house, also near Froedtert Hospital, broke in May as part of a $12 million campaign. The house is expected to open in the summer of 2021. So far, Kathy’s House has raised $10.2 million and is still looking for $1.8 million.
Over the past two years, says Metropulos, about 3,000 individuals have accessed the house.
This includes Nancy and Dan Fairchild of Platteville, whose son Mark received a liver transplant at Froedtert Hospital in October. “The first two-and-a-half weeks we stayed in a hotel in the Brookfield area. It presented some issues,” says Dan. “We had no support system in the area we were staying.”
“When guests check out, we send them a survey asking about their stay,” Metropulos says. “Consistently, over several years, about 40% of guests said they would not have been able to access their treatments without a place like Kathy’s House. It is a very healing and supportive environment.”
The Fairchilds couldn’t agree more.
“What we found was not just another ‘nice hotel’ but a home away from home,” says Dan. “Staff not only take care of the house but care about the patients and caregivers staying with them.”