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University of Missouri Health Care News Releases
Home away from home for cancer patients: Wyatt Guest House celebrates 10-year anniversary

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Described by cancer patients and guests as a “home away from home,” the Ernest and Eugenia Wyatt Guest House on the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center campus will celebrate 10 years of hospitality in September. A ceremony marking the anniversary will take place at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at the Wyatt Guest House.

The Wyatt Guest House provides a convenient and comfortable haven for more than 800 cancer patients and their families a year.

Many of these guests, like Joel Berry from Lamar, Mo., travel hundreds of miles to receive treatment at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. “I was 200 miles from home,” said Berry. “The doctors said I would need two months of cancer treatment. I don’t know what I would have done without the (Wyatt) Guest House.”

Diagnosed with prostate cancer, Berry was the first patient to stay at the guest house when it opened in 2001. He and his wife, Virginia, would make the four-hour drive to Columbia every Sunday evening and return home to Lamar every Friday evening when his week-long treatments were finished.

During the week, the Berrys enjoyed all the amenities the Wyatt Guest House had to offer.

“We had our groceries in the cabinet, and we cooked meals every night.” said Berry. “At night I would sit on the screened-in porch. We met so many wonderful people at the guest house. It was just like being at home.”

Guests like the Berrys stay in one of 12 hotel-like rooms. Each room comes with two double beds, a private bath, telephone, TV, linens and other amenities. Common areas include a kitchen, living room, library, screened-in porch and laundry facilities. The house is staffed 24 hours a day with caring and compassionate people ready to serve the needs of Ellis Fischel’s out-of-town guests.

“True to our mission as Missouri’s official state cancer hospital, the Wyatt Guest House welcomes patients from all over the state,” said Kristi Gafford, executive director of Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. “Cancer patients and their families have enough to worry about during treatment. Providing them a comfortable place to stay is one way we can help them beat this deadly disease.”

The guest house is named for the late Ernest and Eugenia Wyatt. The Wyatts were touched by cancer when Eugenia’s sister, Juanita Roberts, was treated by Ellis Fischel, M.D., a pioneer in the fight against cancer. The Wyatts envisioned a comfortable, supportive environment where patients who lived far from Columbia could stay while receiving treatment at Ellis Fischel. The couple gave a significant gift to establish the guest house as a standing legacy of their loving and caring spirit.

For more information about the guest house, please call (573) 884-1825 or visit www.muhealth.org.

For a video tour of the Wyatt Guest House please visit: http://www.muhealth.org/WyattGuestHouse


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