I have a very nice brother and sister-in-law. They let me stay at their home when I am in the Bay area. They have helped me and my other brother out on numerous occasions and have been more than gracious about it. That makes them nice people.
What makes them GREAT people is what they have done for the severely and terminal ill children of California.
Welcome to George Mark Children's House.
It is NOT a hospital. It is a place for palliative care for children and their families. There are nurses, and doctors and psychologists and therapists of all kinds. They have bereavement care and counseling.
There is a therapy pool.
There is a gathering room.
There are peaceful, manicured grounds.
But it is ALL about the kids.
Oh, did I forget to mention that they are pet friendly?
These welcome dogs may be fake but real ones are allowed to stay. If the pet is a rabbit or a cat or a hamster or (this I couldn't believe) a snake---whatever---they are welcome at George Mark Children's Home. As brother Bill says,."The pets get it!"
I have heard about George Mark Children's House for years. And my response was always "Gee, that is great, Bill. How was your golf game."
Not any more. I have seen this place and felt its energy. I have felt the peace and the acceptance of letting go. I have felt how this place makes transition a much easier, not easier, but more understandable thing.
Some kids come to learn how to cope with their terminal diseases. Some come to let there families have a break from the pressure of caring for a terminally ill child. Some come to learn to care for their children outside of a hospital.
But they all are there because they can find some peace there.
George Mark Children's House operates on donations. Until very recently, insurance companies would not pay for care at a palliative care house. They would pay for the care in a hospital but not at places like George Mark Children's House.
I cannot adequately describe this place. PLEASE go to www.georgemark.org and see what they are doing.
What really blows me away is that two people, my sister-in-law, Dr. Kathy Hull and Dr. Barbara Beach started this project on their own. Brother Bill has been working on it none stop.
These are just ordinary people. With a dream and a tenacious will to see it all work.
I am amazed at their work and ashamed of my less than enthusiastic understanding of the project.
So, to make up for it I am asking anyone who reads this to go to the George Mark Children's House link above and click on their donation link. Give what you can. Then pass this on to anyone you know. Every penny helps.
A place in San Leandro, California is making a difference. It is amazing.