Keeping David's Promise
February 06, 2013
Since opening in 1986, David's House has been a place of refuge and rest for over 12,000 families who have come to the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) to receive medical treatment for their children. As one past resident said: "The hospital is there to heal patients; David's House is there to heal families."
Founded in honor of David Cyr, who died in 1984 at age five, David's House is available to anyone who has a child receiving medical care at CHaD, and welcomes families to stay as long as their child is in treatment. A voluntary donation of $20 a night is suggested, but only 40 percent of families can afford to pay, and no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.
David's House is completely funded by the community and grassroots fundraising. Now, in its 26th year, David's House is turning again to the community for its continued support in Keeping David's Promise, launching a $4 million capital campaign to meet increasing demand for its services. "In the last five years we've had to deny more than 900 requests for rooms," says Dawn Stanhope, David's House Executive Director. "That's just not acceptable. Our operating support comes from community donations and fundraising events," explains Stanhope. "This campaign will help provide resources for the financial stability of our organization into the future."
The pending construction of a 4-bedroom cottage-style addition will allow David's House to serve 90 percent of those they had to turn away. "We'll be able to accommodate more families, and larger families with a first-floor room for handicapped access. We're very excited about the Nursing Mothers' Center, which is a separate area for breastfeeding mothers," says Stanhope. "And we're renovating our kitchen - adding a breakfast nook for a bit of privacy." The renovation, scheduled to be finished in early summer of 2013, will add a total of 3,615 square feet, with 2-1/2 baths, storage space, and an office, sitting area and conference room.
The addition is being built in homelike fashion to keep it comfortable and welcoming for families and children. "We want them to feel like they are coming to a home, and not to an institution."