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Our Story

Kathy Vogel Kuettner and Family
Kathy Vogel Kuettner and Family

Where We Came From

Our story starts with the selfless vision of a dying young woman. In 2000, Kathy Vogel Kuettner, 39, a wife with three small daughters, died of Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

Dick and Judy Vogel

Kathy’s wish

While she was in the hospital, she worried about someone else: another young cancer patient down the hall. Unlike Kathy, he was suffering alone because his family lived out of town and couldn’t afford to stay in Milwaukee to be with him.

Before she died, Kathy asked her parents, Dick and Judy Vogel, to create an affordable place to stay to keep families together.

Delivering on a promise

Kathy’s parents were determined to bring her vision of a hospital guest house to life. They rallied friends and family to make it happen. Thanks to their relentless efforts, in July 2001, Kathy’s House opened in a leased building in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, dedicated to the memory of this kind, compassionate young woman.

Kathy's House former building
The former Kathy’s House building

Where We Are Now

As demand for our services grew, our 18-room house was frequently at capacity. Too often facing the heartbreaking decision to turn away guests and facing the expiration of our lease, we began to explore options for a new, larger building. 

An exterior view of Kathy's House from the northwest
The new Kathy’s House

A New Home for Healing

In 2019, we announced our plans to build a new Kathy’s House on a site near Froedtert Hospital, where many of our guests receive medical treatment. Donors nationwide, from past guests to big companies, generously gave to our building project.

In June 2021, we opened our new, 38-room house that we believe will be a national model for hospital guest houses. At 32,000 square feet, more than twice the size of our previous building, the new Kathy’s House doubles our capacity to serve guests.

 The additional space and guest-supportive features help make it a welcoming, comforting respite—much more than just a place to sleep.

Where We’re Going

Our mission continues

The need for affordable Milwaukee-area lodging for patients and families remains strong. Three major factors drive this continuing need: 

  • Milwaukee is home to top tier hospitals and draws patients nationwide, many from communities that lack the deep medical expertise to treat rare cancers or heart conditions or perform complex organ transplants. 
  • A trend toward delivering more outpatient care instead of hospitalization means more patients need lodging during treatment. 
  • Disparities in access to health care for people in smaller towns or rural areas force people to travel for needed medical treatment.
Front lobby of Kathy's House

A Critical Safety Net

Other hospital guest houses in the area, Ronald McDonald House and Fisher House, are open only to children and military veterans, respectively. Kathy’s House is open to people of all ages and welcomes patients from all hospitals.

Kathy’s House has become a critical safety net for people facing the stress of a serious illness. 

Imagine finding out the medical care your spouse or family member vitally needs is miles away from where you live. 

Imagine worrying about where to stay and how to pay for it — on top of all your other fears.

Learn more about how Kathy’s House helps guests face critical illness.