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Our Origin Story

The spark that ignited the vision

Charlie's laugh and sense of humor were as authentic as his caring heart.

In 2013, Charlie “CW” Cox was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. In the later years of his illness, he traveled 125 miles each way from his home in Marion, VA to Wake Forest's hospital for his specialized treatment. His family would travel two hours from Roanoke to be with him during his frequent doctor's appointments. 

A lung operation was eventually required, with a week-and-a-half in-hospital stay.  As the travel began to take its toll, the family was pointed to a local nonprofit hospitality house that serves the two hospitals of Winston-Salem, providing the kind of Southern hospitality that cit​y is known for.

Later, when a 9-week regimen of radiation and chemotherapy treatment was called for – chemo 3-times-a-week and radiation 5 days a week – the SECU Family House again provided Charlie and his family welcoming, affordable lodging (around $40. per night), with the comfort and security of a nice hotel.

There, they found comradery with other out-of-town families and patients facing similar anxieties and stress of critical medical care, complemented by the empathetic support of the house staff and team of volunteers.

Charlie asked if Roanoke had something similar for those traveling to the Roanoke Valley for medical care. When the family learned that Roanoke did not, a seed of an idea was planted.

In October 2017, an infection interrupted Charlie's treatment and ultimately cut his life short. But his question, asking about a hospitality house in Roanoke, lived on.

The family's experience of traveling to an unfamiliar city for critical care and being welcomed and embraced by the local community inspired them to ask others of their potential interest in seeing one built here.

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Charlie enjoying a hospital burger, with his ever-present smile.

Recognizing that a countless number of families travel great distances to receive world-class care in Roanoke, a group of like-minded people came together. 


Soon, a Board of Directors was formed and then a Board of Advisors. A 501c3 was established; exhaustive research was completed; and now, a Capital Campaign has been launched, turning to the greater community of the Blue Ridge for support.

We have an opportunity to help those impacted by the hardships of traveling here for critical medical treatment. You can help build a local hospitality house that will stand for decades as an accurate expression of our community's caring heart.

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