Special Housing Offers Respite to Critically Ill

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2008 - A critical illness can stretch any family emotionally and financially, but when the patient is a child, the potential stresses are even greater.

The Believe In Tomorrow National Children's Foundation is helping ease those burdens. It provides, free of charge, hospital and retreat housing, as well as support services to children facing life-threatening illnesses and their families, and it offers priority to military families.

"Our programs prioritize U.S. military families who have children being treated for life-threatening illnesses," Brian Morrison, founder and president of the foundation, said. "We believe in keeping families together during a child's medical crisis and that the gentle cadence of normal family life has a powerful influence on the healing process."

Founded in 1982, the foundation developed the concept for the first pediatric retreat facilities in the country, Morrison said. Since then, the Believe In Tomorrow National Children's Foundation has provided more than 300,000 overnight accommodations to families.

The foundation offers six retreat facilities. All are near the Atlantic Ocean or in the mountains of Maryland and North Carolina.

Two houses opening this year, the Believe In Tomorrow House at Pinnacle Falls in North Carolina, and the Believe In Tomorrow House on the Bay in Maryland, are for use by military families exclusively as part of the foundation's military housing initiative, Morrison said.

"(The) retreat housing provides families with the opportunity to escape from the stressful routine of medical treatments," he said. "Families are encouraged to use our retreat facilities on an ongoing basis, free of charge, to renew themselves mentally and physically while spending quality time together."

The foundation's two major hospital housing facilities are located in Baltimore near the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Both provide extended stay options for families.

"We believe that the highest standards of service and unparalleled hospitality help to create a unique healing environment where families find hope and comfort," he said.

Morrison said he hopes his foundation's recent affiliation with the Defense Department's America Supports You program will help spread the word about support services it offers to eligible military families. America Supports You connects citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

*Related Sites:*
Believe In Tomorrow National Children's Foundation  [ ]
Special Housing Offers Respite to Critically Ill [ ]