Text size:

Conine Clubhouse Provides a Welcome "Home Away from Home"

July 2001 — Katherine was only 26 weeks pregnant when her blood pressure suddenly went through the roof. The situation endangered her life and that of her unborn child, requiring immediate hospitalization. At that moment, her premature son decided to make his entrance into the world. The baby was in distress, so an emergency caesarian section was performed. A few minutes later, Katherine was wheeled into the ICU at Memorial Regional Hospital and baby Dylan was whisked to the ICU at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital next door.

What started as a routine doctor's visit ended with a terribly stressful situation for the entire family. Fortunately, a room at the Conine Clubhouse was available. This special residence, located across the street from Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, provided a home-like environment for Katherine's husband Peter and their young daughters, Jessica and Amanda, while mom and baby brother were in the hospital.

"We live 45-minutes away from Memorial," says Katherine. "My husband and I are very close to our children, and without the Conine Clubhouse, it would have been very difficult."

More than 1,250 families from 17 states and 25 countries have stayed free of charge at the Conine Clubhouse since it opened in 1997. Some are in and out in a day or two. Others stay for weeks. All share a common bond in having a child hospitalized at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.

"It's comforting talking to other families. Everyone has different problems or situations. You know you aren't alone," Katherine remembers.

Peter drove the children to school every day and brought them back to their "home away from home" after work. During their 11-week stay, Katherine had three operations, between which she joined her family at the Clubhouse. Her husband only needed to walk across the street to visit his wife and son.

In mid-October, both mother and baby were healthy enough to go home. Since then, many families with similar stories have filled the Clubhouse's 17 rooms and suites with laughter, tears, smiles and hugs.

For more information on the Conine Clubhouse, contact Kristin Cornell, manager, at (954) 265-6323.