Local Spotlight: Bold and Brave Kid’s Foundation

Providing fully furnished and equipped temporary apartments for families of children being treated for cancer at the Cincinnati Children’s Proton Therapy Center.

Bold and Brave Kid’s Foundation is on a mission to provide families a place to call home when cancer forces them to be brave. Southwest Ohio Parent spoke to April Montgomery, the president and executive director of the nonprofit, to learn how and why this organization started.

How did the Bold and Brave Kid’s Foundation get started?

I founded Bold and Brave Kid’s Foundation in 2015 after hearing that Cincinnati Children’s Hospital was building a proton therapy center. My daughter was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 at the age of 17½ months and it was determined that proton therapy was the only treatment to save her life.  She and I lived in Connecticut at the time and there were two proton centers in the world, and only one of them treated children: Massachusetts General Hospital. 

We moved to Boston for two months and were offered a two-bedroom apartment across from the hospital. That experience was life-changing for me as it afforded me the opportunity to run across the street to the ER when she needed immediate medical care. It gave me immense comfort to know that she would be safe and that expert care was minutes away. We also had enough room to have family over to help with her care and to visit with me. I couldn’t imagine going through a pediatric cancer diagnosis and subsequent radiation treatment without having that apartment to go back to each night. When I saw that CCHMC was opening a proton center, I knew that the way for me to pay it forward was to start this foundation and to offer housing to families coming to Ohio for treatment. We have families from all over the world stay with us. 

What is proton therapy?  

Different from conventional radiation treatments (often known as photons or X-rays), proton radiation stops after delivering its dosage to cancer cells and therefore spares the healthy surrounding tissue. This allows the treatment of tumors that are located next to critical organs such as the brain, heart, spinal cord and lungs as well as limiting damage to other growing cells. This is especially important when treating children whose organs are still forming and developing. Long-term effects of radiation to areas other than the tumor include higher rates of secondary tumors and damage to other organs and tissues that are essential to living a full life.

Tell us about the new extended-stay apartments being built at the Children’s Hospital Liberty Campus in Butler County.  

There will be 12 in total, 1,300 square foot ADA-compliant apartments for families to use while their child is receiving treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Each apartment has two bedrooms and two full-sized bathrooms so kids and parents can have privacy at the end of the day. The units will be fully furnished and include a washer and dryer. We also designed the spaces to have outdoor areas so people can get outside. There is a front porch and rear patio on each unit. We hope the units will be available in May 2023.

How can people get involved with the Bold and Brave Kid’s Foundation? 

We are always looking for volunteers to help and welcome people to reach out to me at [email protected].

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