Finding Acceptance in Western New York

Feeling good + satisfactory bloodwork + successful spinoplasty

= Beverly and her caregiver can go home!

In the Fall of 2022, Beverly Schriver was diagnosed with multiple myeloma by her Binghamton oncologist. Although her doctor’s office was 3.5 hours away from Buffalo, they were the ones to refer her to Kevin Guest House after deciding Roswell Park Cancer Institute would provide her best course of treatment. Coming from a small hometown, Beverly arrived in Buffalo with her son, Spencer and checked in during March 2023, after WNY recovered from many newsworthy winter storms. They were immediately well received and described the staff throughout the campus as “coming home to family you never knew you had.” With hotels costing 4-5 times more than the suggested daily donation at Kevin Guest House, they were thankful to have treatment minutes away on the medical campus, compared to commuting many hours to a hospital or specialist. This allowed for a safe and comfortable place to recover, more space to cook their own food and no anxiety from changing rooms multiple times. Melonie compared it to being at a family member’s summer home, almost as if being trusted and told “here’s the keys.”

Beverly was admitted and discharged numerous times since the spring. While back home for short time, a benefit was held in April called Royal Roulette’s Ultimate Playlist, that Beverly organized and hosted, resulting in a $526 donation to KGH! It was evening of drag, a 50/50 and basket raffle in Binghamton. Beverly and Melonie are seen here presenting the check to KGH Executive Director, Lynsey Weaver, which covers 21 night stays for a guest.

As a family, they all participate in many shows in their area and this is Beverly as a king at this recent drag show. Beverly, her son Spencer and sister Melonie hope to make a connection in Buffalo with the local WNY LGBTQ community to maybe organize a show in the future when Beverly has to come back for check-ups and raise even more. Please reach out to us and we’d be happy to connect you to help them organize their next show maybe in Buffalo!

When returning back to Buffalo, Beverly enjoyed the volunteer meal donations along with delicious meals her sister would prepare from their isolated apartment. May 31, 2023 was “a day of miracles!” Beverly’s neurosurgeon fixed her three compression fractures that day! They reinflated each vertebra, then filled it with bone cement. The whole procedure took about an hour and she gained some height back, but more importantly, she was in a lot less pain.

On June 2, 2023, Beverly and her sister sat down with us to reflect on their time at KGH. After her stem-cell transplant a month prior, they found the KGH campus to be a place to be comfortable for a family. The staff was comparable to long-lost family, always greeting them with a smile and empathy, and more importantly – making recommendations for the best local take out food. Melonie recalls staff asking since their first day for updates on progress from the hospital treatment, which showed they cared. They commented on how all of the buildings were beautiful, clean and welcoming. The pair even took the time to help us record video testimonials for a grant submission, which came naturally to Beverly, given her many years of marketing/media experience, theater training & rock and roll background. They were very anxious to return home to loved ones and pets, but made sure to set aside time to help out KGH before heading home. They felt that if we received the grant money, the funding would be priceless to meet our goal and carry out our mission to more families. Melonie commented that “I know the people here take great pride in these buildings. They’re kept in excellent shape. There is a sign out front that explains when and why the house was built, and it’s important to keep the history of the buildings in Buffalo.”

June is Pride Month and Beverly’s family couldn’t speak enough to how accepting the WNY community was during their stay. They felt it was a place everyone is cared for, as it’s very inclusive, a safe place and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. “Disease doesn’t define you in Buffalo.”

Melonie expressed that a big part of getting better, is staying with family, and not being isolated alone in a hospital miles away from home. Beverly was grateful to be able to return to Binghamton to fully recover with her husband, Richard, two sons, Richard Jr. and Spencer, two dogs a bunny. They know they’ll always have ‘friends’ to stay with at KGH, when returning for future check-ups at Roswell. “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you soon!”

“When the doctor says ‘THAT’ word, it turns the world inside out and upside down. And suddenly your life is an endless trip to the doctor, the lab, the clinic, the hospital. And it becomes a desert – with nothing else as far as the eye can see.
Kevin Guest House is an oasis…

They are historic homes, (not concrete and steel and glass boxes) in the middle of a city. They are lovingly maintained and cared for by the staff and volunteers who enjoy doing necessary but simple tasks, like gardening and cleaning the glass lampshades. It gives a patient a place to feel like a person again, and come back to ‘Life’.

After weeks or months in the hospital,  hearing birds over breakfast instead of machines. Sitting in the garden and listening to music or reading a book, instead of staring out the window. Having the human contact of friendly, caring people, who aren’t poking,  prodding or sticking you with needles. A place to be with family when someone is so far from home, can do so much for the healing process.. 
Thank you for being our oasis.”

Testimony from Beverly’s sister & caregiver, Melonie DeHart

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