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Mesa Independent

Banner donates Mesa home to cancer patient


A special residence, located at Christopher Todd Communities at Ellsworth in Mesa, was filled with volunteers readying the property for special guests: a man undergoing cancer treatments and his wife, who’ve been living in an RV for years.

The home was donated rent-free to Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center to help house cancer patients who travel from outside the Valley to receive outpatient care, especially those whose protocols require weeks of daily therapy, those participating in clinical trials, and those recovering from stem-cell transplants.

Insurance does not cover hotels for patients and care partners who must stay within a 15-minute drive of Banner MD Anderson, creating a significant financial barrier to receiving the treatments they need.

Jess Conant, also known as Jac, and Carol Perry formerly of Mesa, have been touring the country during their retirement years, enjoying great American adventures. That is until Jac’s cancer diagnosis earlier this year when they were living in Oregon.

They selected Banner MD Anderson in Gilbert for care because of its excellent reputation and Jac and Carol’s Mesa roots. But living in a small RV while undergoing extensive outpatient treatment was going to be a challenge and paying for a hotel room for an extended period of time was problematic.

The Banner Health Foundation launched the Home Away From Home campaign in 2019 to build an endowment that, year after year, can help offset the cost of temporary housing for cancer patients — just one way to help reduce patient stress and anxiety during an already challenging time in their life. Social workers and patient navigators work with partner hotels and motels to secure discounted rates, and financial assistance is awarded to qualifying patients.

Christopher Todd Communities Built By Taylor Morrison learned of the Home Away From Home program and knew they could help, especially because their newest community just opened in Mesa near the Cancer Center.

“Both Taylor Morrison and Christopher Todd Communities have strong philanthropic company cultures. Aligning with Banner MD Anderson to provide a temporary home away from home for cancer patients was synergistic and we are honored we can help,” said Todd Wood, CEO of Christopher Todd Communities.

Taylor Morrison, the builder of Christopher Todd Communities at Ellsworth, donated a two-bedroom home, rent-free for a year and Christopher Todd Communities provided financial support to Banner Health Foundation to help furnish the home.

Many other companies and individuals contributed to provide everything one would need to feel at home, including Lexi Grace Design, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Bed DRS, Debbie Gaby Charities, and many others.

“It’s a blessing. It’s a miracle,” said Jess Conant upon seeing the home for the first time this week.

“On behalf of everyone at Banner MD Anderson and all of our patients, we are so grateful for these generous donations to serve our patients and care partners in need,” said Dr. Rogerio Lilenbaum, senior physician executive for Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center. “A safe, comfortable place to lay your head at night is so important on the cancer journey, and this furnished home will provide the next-best thing to being in one’s own bed. We are thrilled to be able to offer this option to patients who need to stay close by for their own safety and treatment protocols.”

“We all know someone who has been impacted by cancer and are humbled to provide respite to patients on a path to wellness,” said Taylor Morrison Build-to-Rent national president Darin Rowe.

Christopher Todd Communities at Ellsworth, 250 N. Ellsworth Road in Mesa is a 144-home luxury gated rental community comprised of single-story rental smart homes with private backyards and pet doors. It also features a resort-style pool, fitness studio, and serenity garden that will enhance the healing journey. The community welcomed its first residents April 1 and is more than 40 percent leased.

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