Home Away From Home

Derek’s mom has wished for a long time that her son could have a normal life.

Derek’s first treatment started in Denver. Treatments seemed to work, and they eventually headed back to Laramie, cancer-free.

Derek Augustin, a second grader at the time, relapsed twice more. Eventually, he and his family would be long-term visitors to the Children’s
Hospital in Aurora. There, Derek would receive stem cell transplants for
his neuroblastoma.

The transplants required Derek be watched closely. His immune system
was vulnerable, and he could easily become sick. Derek and his family
stayed in Denver for five months as he got treatment.

His mom, Lisa, explained that because he was so vulnerable, the family could
hardly go anywhere.

“At times, it was horrible,” said Lisa. “We were so antsy and ready
to get out.”

One thing made it bearable though: Jason’s Friends at Brent’s Place. Jason’s Friends is a statewide nonprofit based in Casper. They support non-medical needs of families of kids with cancer.

Because of you, the Wyoming Community Foundation made a grant to Jason’s Friends. The grant means families like the Augustins now have a special living space available to them at Brent’s Place in Denver.

The space made a world of difference to the Augustins and now it will make a difference to so many other Wyoming families.

Bonds that Last a Lifetime

Brent’s Place is comfortable and welcoming. It’s also as close to sterile as living quarters can get. Each room has its own ventilation system. There are no carpets and the couches are leather. All surfaces can be easily cleaned. A must for kids like Derek.

It was also so much more for Derek and other families staying there. Shared
recreational spaces let families get to know one another.

“Nobody stares at you because you’re bald or have a feeding tube or wear a
mask,” says Lisa as she thinks back on her son’s experience.

She shares that the families would come together to watch a movie, play games or talk. They quickly bonded. Derek became very close with a boy from Casper.
Lisa believes families at Brent’s Place have stayed connected because of the shared experience.

“You just know what others are going through. You both view life a bit differently.”

Thanks to you, Jason’s Friends has created a safe, welcoming place for Wyoming families dealing with the worst.

As for Derek’s health? This is his longest remission. He’s been cancer-free for a year and a half now. His mom hopes this means a return to a more normal life soon!

3: Number of apartment spaces for WY kids at Jason’s Friends at Brent’s Place

In just seven months, 23 Wyoming families have utilized the space. 

15 minutes: Walking distance to the hospital

Funded by the Grace Amspoker Fund at WYCF

Derek enjoys some time outdoors, cancer-free!