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    Posted July 1, 2014 by
    Bethesda, Maryland
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Tell us the Good Stuff!

    Families Find Hope at The Children's Inn


    The Children’s Inn at NIH is “A Place Like Home” for children participating in leading-edge research studies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH is the world’s foremost medical research center. Our residents play a vital role in advancing medical discoveries and improving the health of people all over the world by taking part in critical research.

    The Inn’s mission is to fully and consistently meet the needs of these families during their children’s treatments by providing a free family-centered “Place Like Home” and reducing the burdens of illness through therapeutic, educational and recreational programming.


    The NIH takes care of the child’s medical needs while The Inn tends to their social and emotional needs. At the end of long days of treatments and procedures, they leave behind the needles and doctors and return to The Inn.  Inn residents participate in research studies for life-threatening and debilitating diseases such as heart, lung, blood, bone, and growth disorders, mental illness, rare genetic conditions, many forms of cancer, and even undiagnosed diseases.


    The Inn helps to reduce the burden of illness by providing a wide range of recreational, educational, and therapeutic programming for the whole family such as: arts & crafts, field trips, tutoring, seated massage and much more.


    Since opening in 1990, more than 12,000 seriously ill children and their families from all 50 states and more than 80 countries have stayed at The Inn. Up to 59 families may reside at The Inn each night, at no cost to them. In 2010, The Inn opened a transitional home called The Woodmont House for families requiring longer stays. This home, adjacent to the NIH campus, accommodates up to five families whose children are no longer in the acute phases of illness, yet still require treatment at the NIH. Families stay for free and may participate in all of The Inn’s activities.


    The Children’s Inn at NIH is excited to celebrate its 25th Anniversary! President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara are serving as honorary chairpersons for the year of celebrations, kicking off on June 21, 2014 and continuing throughout the anniversary year of 2015. The Bushes presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony when The Inn became a reality in June of 1990.


    Dr. Philip Pizzo, Chief of Pediatric Oncology at the NIH in the 1980s, observed that parents were congregating with other families in the waiting rooms of the Clinical Center and forming support networks, often reluctant to leave and go back to their respective hotels. It was his concept to create a place on the NIH campus where families could stay together, for free, to facilitate healing through mutual support including therapeutic, recreational and educational programming.


    Establishment of The Inn took hard work, dedication and commitment, and the merging of public and private resources. Merck generously donated $3.7 million for The Inn to be built; the NIH donated 2.5 acres of land; and a group of Congressional spouses formed Friends of The Children’s Inn and raised money to furnish the facility. The Children’s Inn at NIH opened on June 21, 1990 with 37 sleeping rooms.


    The Inn opened a major expansion in May of 2004, adding a new wing with 22 additional sleeping rooms and many other communal and open spaces, such as a Teen Lounge, Arts & Crafts Studio, Multipurpose Room, Exercise Room and a Reflection Space. Merck donated another $3.7 million for the expansion project.


    Although located on the Federal campus of the NIH, The Inn is a private, nonprofit, primarily sustained by donations.


    The Inn has 27 full-time and 10 part-time paid staff members and more than 200 regularly scheduled volunteers.  For more information, go to www.childrensinn.org.

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