When our son, Silas, became sick with cancer, we began walking a road that few people we knew (at that point in our lives) had ever had to walk. We left our home and jobs in Williston, ND, and spent much of the next eleven months in Rochester, MN, where Silas underwent extensive treatment at the Mayo Clinic. Those months in and out of the hospital were extremely taxing not only for Silas, but also for us. As we walked alongside our little boy in the midst of the pain and discomfort of his battle with cancer, we found ourselves exhausted physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually. When Silas passed away in late 2007, our hearts were torn apart and we were (and still are) deeply grieved.
But we were not alone. God used so many people to reach out to us in ways too numerous to list here. Because of the kindness of others, many of our needs were bountifully addressed. As we look back now on all of the different people who stepped forward to help us, our hearts well up with gratitude, and we find ourselves wanting to help others facing similar situations.
In the midst of the chaos of those months, we learned so much. We not only became familiar with the ins-and-outs of the Mayo Clinic—navigating the buildings where treatment, testing, and appointments take place—we also learned what it feels like to sit in the hospital and watch your child struggle for months and months. We found out what it means to be thoroughly exhausted and to still have to keep plugging on. We came to know the kinds of help that families with a child in long-term treatment need and the kinds of needs that often go unmet. We became well acquainted with the joys of little successes in the treatment journey and the sting of complications and especially ultimate defeat. And, we experienced firsthand what it is like to need an affordable place to stay for an extended period of time.
After Silas died, recognizing the need for affordable housing for out-of-town families facing the challenges of a child in cancer treatment at the Mayo Clinic and wanting to be God’s hands and feet to help meaningfully meet this need, we birthed the dream of having a guest home in Rochester. We dreamed of providing a place where a family or two could stay and receive support with the many challenges that the long-term illness of a child can bring. In late 2011, we decided to move our home and jobs to Rochester where we found a house that met our qualifications. With the help of some family and friends, we gradually renovated the walk-out basement of our new home into a guest apartment and Cy’s Place began operation in early 2013. We are delighted to see how God has opened the doors and look forward to seeing how He will use our small efforts.
A new chapter to our story began recently when some friends (who wish to remain anonymous) told us they would like to help us expand our ministry. This couple donated the money needed to purchase a wonderful piece of land and then also volunteered to help us raise the funds necessary to build a new building capable of housing twenty families. We are amazed at this new development and see God’s hand in all of this as many others are also coming forward and using their expertise to help make this new venture a reality. We smile when we think of all of the families that Cy’s Place will be able minister to in the future as a result of all of these efforts.