Community members push to reopen Brian's House in Bay City - WNEM TV 5

Community members push to reopen Brian's House in Bay City

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BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

An organization in Bay City is working to reopen a hospice care center to give those who don't have long to live a comfortable place to die.

Bob Rogers is one community member who is on board.

His 52-year old brother Don died last Thursday after a two-year battle with colorectal cancer.

Bob Rogers and his wife moved his brother into their home, where he spent his last days, not at a hospice like their family had planned.

"When this all began, (he) wanted to come to Brian's House, toured the place, fell in love, loved the staff, was comfortable, and then, of course, it was closed," said Bob Rogers.

Don Rogers never got that chance because McLaren, the owner of Brian's House, closed the hospice last September.

"My dad's passing was much easier than what it may have been if he was in, let's say, a nursing home, or otherwise," said Jackie DeLorge.

DeLorge lost her father to cancer in 2007. He was able to spend his final days at Brian's House.

"Brian's House was not only a place to die, it was also a place to remind us where our loved ones were living," said DeLorge.

She's launching a nonprofit with hopes that other local families will have a hospice in Bay City to turn to. Monday night, she met with members of the community to discuss how to do it.

She said $1.2 million the community donated to help expand Brian's House in 2009 needs to be the focus. She feels that McLaren, the owner of Brian's House, should pay that money back to the community. This is money she hopes to use to reopen Brian's House at the same site.

"We have decided to go forward. We're not going to give up. We're going to find a way to have another hospice here in Bay City," said DeLorge.

Bob Rogers says his even though his brother never got to experience Brian's House, he hopes this push will re-open the doors for others.

"It's needed in the community. We were able to take him in our home and provide him the care up to his death, but not everybody can do that. Brian's House is sorely missed, and we need a new facility," said Bob Rogers.

The organization also hopes to get their hands on $200,000 of donated money the community put toward Brian's House. They plan to let McLaren know their plans formally this week.

DeLorge said she also hopes others in the community will step up to help out the cause. She's looking for experts that might be able to give insight into starting and running a nonprofit, as well as lawyers and accountants to help this cause move forward.

For more information, you can visit the Brian's House website by CLICKING HERE.

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