Person of the Week: Frankie Dubose

October 16, 2009 11:01:29 AM PDT
This week's Person of the Week tries to make sure cancer patients have a comfortable and affordable place to stay while they're being treated.Frankie Dubose loves the garden at the Caring House -- a home in Durham for adult Duke cancer patients and their guests who travel from out of town. The garden is one of many peaceful areas for guests to retreat to while staying at the home.

"I've had them tell me it's like an anchor," Dubose said. "They come through the front door, and they're so afraid of cancer, they're so scared of a big hospital and they walk in Caring House and all the fear is removed."

There are 18 rooms that sleep 44 people and three kitchens so families can make home-cooked meals. Most importantly, Caring House is affordable at just $20 a night and no one is turned away.

"In this home, they become one family, all under God's care and they work together to help each other, and it doesn't matter if they're rich or if they're poor," Dubose said. "They're all welcome and they all help as a family."

Dubose spearheaded the effort to build Caring House 25 years ago after learning that Duke cancer patients needed housing.

She recruited countless volunteers to help and still does to support fundraising that covers most Caring House expenses.

"Her passion for this cause and for patients with cancer, it spreads to everybody," Caring House Executive Director Sheridan Townsend said.

Dalia Fleming is from Fayetteville. She's at Caring House with her mom, who has lung cancer.

"Driving back and forth to Fayetteville everyday would be a strain on her with her taking the treatments, so it is very nice that we have somewhere away from home," Fleming said.

Fleming knew about Caring House because her grandmother stayed there when her grandfather was sick.

"I have told so many people about the Caring House and how nice it is and how nice the people were to us," caregiver Mildred McAlister said.

That's exactly what Dubose wants for all the patients and caregivers who stay at Caring House. She knows the comforts of home can make cancer a litter easier to bear.

"We've had many patients tell us they could not have survived their severe patient treatment, their chemotherapy or radiation without the hope and love they received here," Dubose said.

Caring House has a waiting list.

Dubose would like to add more room, but that may take a while. For more information about the facility, click here.

To nominate someone for Eyewitness News Person of the Week, click here.

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