Kayla Fraley is already contemplating the day one year from now that she may, with mutual agreement, learn the name of her bone marrow donor. “How do you say thank you for giving me life? Thank you for giving me a second chance,” Kayla wonders aloud.
It’s not surprising that Kayla is feeling contemplative, just a week shy of leaving Kathy’s House following a four-month stay. Although Kayla and her mother/caregiver Nancy May are eager to return home, they will miss the care they received and the connections they made at Kathy’s House. “It’s very homey,” Kayla says. “The staff took us in and cared for us in a way that has made us feel safe. We’re so thankful for that,” Nancy adds. “Can you imagine how dreary it would be to stay in a hotel room?”
Kayla and Nancy formed a community with other guests that far surpassed what any hotel could offer. “If you were to stay in a hotel, you wouldn’t get this sense of community, family, home,” Kayla elaborates. “You would just be surviving.”
Another critical factor in supporting Kayla and Nancy: the cost of staying at Kathy’s House. Kayla says that one of her biggest concerns on learning that she’d need to come to Milwaukee for care was the cost. “Affording a hotel room at $100-200 a night for four months? Financially I could not support that…it was my biggest worry,” she says. “You guys made it easier not to worry.”
Kayla has plenty to worry about without money on her mind. In addition to facing her own diagnosis of myeloid leukemia, Kayla’s mother and fellow guest Nancy May has been battling breast cancer. The two are well-accustomed to caring for one another. They are a jovial pair and even finish each other’s sentences. “I love her more than anything in the whole world,” Kayla says of Nancy. “We’ve been confined to one room for four months, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”