To the Editor:
Recently, I was very fortunate to get a tour of Nick’s House at 200 South Chester Road, at the corner of Harvard Avenue. Cheryl Colleluori, Nick’s mom and president of the house, led two friends and me through the building. Nick, who succumbed to cancer in 2006 at the age of 21, founded the charitable, non-profit Headstrong Foundation with a vision to help people stricken by his disease. A Nick’s House in Ridley and now Nick’s House here are the main part of the realized dream. Cheryl, driven by grief, compassion and love and with the help of others has been working tirelessly on it ever since and with great success.
The house in Swarthmore has the capacity to host seven cancer patients and their caregivers (usually just one) who temporarily live here at no cost while receiving the most advanced cancer treatment in Philadelphia. The building, run down when purchased, has been beautifully remodeled to make life comfortable for people living with pain and anxiety. We were greatly impressed by the excellent, practical and decorative designs and accommodations, with every detail well thought-out — from handicapped accessibility (outside lift, inside elevator!) to private bedrooms, spaces for workout exercise, computer stations and TVs, not to mention generous cooking, eating, and living spaces. An added plus is that the house is within walking distance of the train station and our town center. It was good to hear that the people staying at Nick’s House, bonded by anguish, live in a most harmonious way and usually become friends.
Sadly, I understand that some Swarthmore residents are still trying to prevent this rent-free “home away from home” from existing here in our town. Where are the hearts of these people? Who can think of a cause more worthwhile than offering distressed patients and their caregivers a place of respite as well as emotional support?