It felt like home to me.
Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Marianne Slade is a strong woman of faith, with a “can do” attitude and a positive outlook on life.
In 2019, while visiting one of her friends in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Marianne noticed something was amiss with her breast. She spent the next several months traveling for her work and living life normally. But Marianne’s breast tissue continued to deteriorate.
After numerous tests and scans, Marianne was told she had breast cancer. It had metastasized. In addition to working full time, and making trips back home to Alabama, she spent the next year undergoing chemotherapy in Winston-Salem in hopes of shrinking the tumors. Marianne spent the night with her friend in Winston-Salem on the days she was receiving treatment.
In December of 2020 it was time for Marianne to have a double mastectomy. Her friend no longer had the spare room available. Marianne needed somewhere stable where she could recover from major surgery and undergo a rigorous chemotherapy and radiation regimen. A cancer patient advocate at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist told her about the SECU Family House. Unable to work during her next phase of treatment, Marianne worried her ability to pay for months of lodging on top of her expensive medical bills. Marianne qualified for a subsidized stay thanks to generous donors to the Family Assistance Fund. This fund helps pay a portion of a guest’s nightly fee based on their income.
After a successful double mastectomy, Marianne checked into the SECU Family House on December 15, 2020. For 171 days the SECU Family House was Marianne’s home away from home. She said,
“From the moment I stepped in the door, it felt like home.”
Marianne was grateful for the staff who made sure she had what she needed, for the shuttles back and forth to the hospital, and for the volunteers who provided evening meals. “They made my healing that much better.” She credits the SECU Family House for being a large factor in her ability to heal post-surgery. She was thankful for a stable and safe place “to come and have rest – not just physical rest, but mental rest as well.”
Marianne acknowledges that no one goes through life alone. “Everyone needs some help, somewhere. I can’t express to you how much (the SECU Family House) means to me.”
Marianne’s favorite room in the house is the kitchen. The kitchen is where she got to know a regular volunteer, Yvonne Beard, who made an impression on Marianne. Marianne appreciated Yvonne’s “warm, welcoming smile” and the way that she always asked Marianne how she was doing. Yvonne even helped Marianne connect with local resources.
Today, Marianne is doing well. She has an apartment in Winston-Salem, works part time locally as a medical sterilizer, and continues to receive regular chemotherapy at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. She came by the Family House recently to say “hi” and to drop off a donation. A donation in honor of Yvonne Beard. She wanted give back to the volunteer and the Family House that helped her during her journey of healing and recovery.