On February 2, 2022, Vernell was diagnosed with breast cancer, and her world was turned upside down. Her doctors recommended major surgery, and as difficult as it was, she made it through and slowly recovered. But soon, she found out that, unfortunately, there was more of the tumor to be removed with a second surgery. After two major procedures, she was exhausted and knew her journey was not over. There were 16 days of radiology treatment to follow, making her very anxious.
“Some might think the radiology is the easy part,” Vernell shared, “but it isn't when you live two hours away from the treatment facility. The idea of having to commute from Los Baños to Santa Clara for treatment in the state of physical and emotional weakness I was in weighed very heavily on me. Just saying ‘cancer’ would bring me to tears those days.”
As for many of our guests, getting a hotel room at Bay Area rates for two weeks was out of the question for Vernell. Luckily, our message is getting to those who need us the most. “God sent me many angels during this trial,” Vernell says, “and one of them was my friend Robin who told me about JW House and its extraordinary mission of helping those who are exactly in my situation.”
“I can’t begin to describe what a blessing JW House was for me. The house was full when I needed my treatment, but the staff told me not to worry, that they would figure out a way to provide lodging for me, and they did. For 11 out of the 16 days of treatment, JW House was able to make arrangements for me to stay at partner hotels at a subsidized rate that worked with my financial situation. They welcomed me to use all the house facilities and invited me to every meal. But most importantly, everyone I encountered, from staff to volunteers to other guests, seemed to say, ‘We see you; we know what you are going through, and we are here.’ At JW House, I felt like I was stopping by one of my relatives’ houses back home in Ohio, and that was the most amazing feeling.”
Vernell recognizes that the need is great for hospitality homes like this, which is why she couldn’t get a room in the main house. However, she feels lucky to have had access to subsidized lodging close to the hospital. With a grateful heart, she shares: “I’m very aware that JW House would not have been able to help me if it wasn’t for what people donate to their Emergency Lodging Fund. So, I want to say THANK YOU to those who have given, and PLEASE GIVE to those considering helping. You have no idea how much stress you take away from someone in a complex medical situation and how good it feels to know that you are not alone because others care.”