Help The Children’s Inn Keep Seriously Ill Children and Their Families Safe and Supported During Coronavirus Pandemic

Here are the most urgent ways you can make a difference now:

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Friday, December 18, 2020

Happy Holidays! From all of us at The Children’s Inn at NIH, we wish you safe and relaxing holidays as this most unusual and challenging year comes to a close. Your support has been especially important and meaningful this year and has helped us keep children, young adults and their families who stayed with us safe. Thank you for being someone our children and young adults can always count on!

Here are some updates from the past two weeks:

  • This year’s annual Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) Santa Ride was different from any other. For safety reasons, the annual motorcycle ride made no community visits prior to arriving at The Children’s Inn. The envoy from the North Pole stopped briefly at The Inn for Santa to deliver a holiday message and for children to take some physically distanced photos with Santa. But it was enough to put smiles on the faces of the children, families and staff at The Inn, and the faces of the police officers who come to The Inn year after year for this special event. Thanks, MCPD, for guiding Santa safely through traffic and making a much-appreciated appearance during this unusual holiday season!

  • Virtual Paint & Sip Nights, taught by an online instructor and featuring fruit-juice cocktails, have become popular at The Inn for children, young adults and their family members. Take a peek at the photos below to see how much joy your support brings to the children and families spending the holidays at The Inn!

Your support—big and small—makes a tremendous difference for the children, young adults and their family members who find a second home at The Inn. During this difficult year, we have incurred unanticipated costs from purchasing large amounts of PPE and providing safe meals to families while our dinner group volunteers are unable to help due to coronavirus safety regulations. As this year is coming to a close, the best way to support The Children’s Inn is by making a donation at

Your donation helps us provide a free and nurturing “place like home” to children and young adults with serious diseases whose best hope for a treatment rests in NIH clinical research. Thank you! Every dollar you give is a gift of hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Happy holidays and a happy new year!

Friday, December 4, 2020

We hope you had a wonderful and, most of all, safe Thanksgiving! The children and families at The Inn did thanks to the kindness of our wonderful supporters at Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County and the Somaiya Family Foundation. Thank you for making a delicious and festive holiday meal possible for every child, young adult and family member staying at The Inn!

Here are some additional updates:

  • The Children’s Inn is grateful to everyone who made a gift on #GivingTuesday to support our children and families. Thanks to your generosity, The Inn is better positioned to keep providing a free and nurturing “place like home” to seriously ill children and families who are staying with us during the holidays.
  • Santa Ride is Dec. 9, and we’re looking forward to welcoming Montgomery County Police motor elves and, of course, Santa Claus to The Inn at 4:30 p.m. for a special, physically distanced holiday message from the North Pole.
  • If you’re a baseball fan or are looking for a unique holiday gift, we have just what you are looking for this season! From Dec. 7-13, we will auction off a baseball signed by Dr. Anthony Fauci at Nats Park when he threw the ceremonial first pitch at the opening of the 2020 Major League Baseball season. Visit our auction site today to take a sneak peek at the ball and sign in to monitor bids.

  • Our children’s safety always comes first at The Inn. That’s why, as COVID-19 infections continue to rise in the community, we are now asking every family to complete a COVID test before they come to The Inn and to do a saliva COVID test as soon as they arrive. Our Resident Services team is working closely with the NIH Hospital Epidemiology Service and NIH Health Information Management Department to help keep children and families as safe as possible, and will continue to adjust safety measures as needed.
  • Leading up to the holidays, our programming team is providing several holiday-themed activities in cooperation with caring community partners that deliver virtual instruction. Our residents enjoyed the first such activity yesterday, when they decorated ornaments with VisArts. Thanks, VisArts, for this fun activity!
  • Big thanks go to Sam and Annie Cohen for helping create and deliver lots of wonderful Thoughtful Treasures to stuff the mailboxes of children staying at The Inn. The Thoughtful Treasures were created by students at Tilden Middle School in Montgomery County, Maryland, as part of their Day of Caring. Children staying at The Inn look forward to finding a gift in their mailbox every morning. Many times, they take these gifts to the NIH Clinical Center to help entertain them in between medical visits. Thanks to caring community volunteers who provide Thoughtful Treasures, our children start every day off with a smile. Thank you, Tilden Middle School!


  • The Children’s Inn is all decked out for the holidays. Due to COVID-19, we could not invite our dedicated volunteers to join us for a day of decorating. Instead, we had staff decorate, and it looks beautiful, although the expertise of our volunteers has been missed. We hope to welcome you back next year for this fun activity.


  • We’re twinkling! The Children’s Inn received some professional support this year to hang up outdoor lights. Isn’t it magical?

As always, here are the best ways to support The Children’s Inn right now:

Donate today

Friday, November 20, 2020

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? This holiday will surely look different from normal for all of us in some way. It definitely will look very different for the children and families staying at The Inn. Normally, the Congregation of Beth El in Montgomery County cooks, caters and serves a festive holiday meal to our families. Unable to volunteer in person at The Inn this year, this loyal volunteer group raised funds online to sponsor a Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings for our families.

We’re so grateful for their tremendous support over the years and for finding a way to continue their support during the pandemic! Thanks and appreciation also go to the Somaiya Family Foundation for supporting our Thanksgiving festivities for our children and families!

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been following NIH epidemiology’s guidance to keep our vulnerable children and families safe. As the COVID epidemic keeps widening, we are continually adjusting our safety measures, asking more staff to work from home and implementing more testing guidelines. Avoiding exposure of our immunocompromised children and young adults remains our top priority!

Here are some additional updates:

  • We’re grateful to Bryan Voltaggio, the acclaimed chef who gained national fame on Bravo’s Top Chef and Top Chef Masters shows, for inaugurating our brand-new E-wing kitchen with a culinary event that was a homerun! Chef Bryan prepared a delicious menu, and participants either picked up or received a delivery of farm-fresh items to prepare a four-course gourmet meal with the Top chef’s guidance in their own kitchens. In addition to Chef Voltaggio, big thanks go to the evening’s sponsors, Booz Allen Hamilton and Leidos. We’re also grateful to Comedian and foodie Bill Harris for hosting the show and to all of you who participated to support of The Children’s Inn. Thank you! To stay in-the-know about future fundraising events benefiting The Children’s Inn, please check our events page and connect with us on social media.
  • Our #INNitfor30 Virtual Fitness Challenge is in full swing, but there’s still plenty of time to join! So if you want to walk/dance/kayak off a few calories in support of The Children’s Inn and be fit for the holidays, get #INNitfor30 today. You don’t need to do this on your own. If you have a dog, consider joining Zilly’s #INNitfor30 team. If you don’t, you can still join Zilly’s team, or you may start your own team—as you like—and best of all, you may exercise any way you like. Whether you like to dance, bike, kayak, run, walk, skateboard, it all counts. Sign up here. We greatly appreciate our challenge supporters, the Somaiya Family Foundation and an anonymous donor. Thank you!
  • #GivingTuesday is coming up, and this year’s day of giving is truly important! Due to the pandemic and our inability to host our regular events, philanthropic support of The Children’s Inn is lower than normal. We’re hoping that with a concerted #GivingTuesday effort on social media, through our supporters and using traditional media outreach, we’ll be able to catch up. If you’re able to help, please consider making a donation, becoming a monthly supporter, helping supply needed items from our wish list or hosting your own Facebook fundraiser. Here’s more information for you to launch your own fundraiser. Thank you for making this crucial #GivingTuesday a success to help our children and families during the most difficult time of The Inn’s history!

From all of us at The Children’s Inn, have a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

The most impactful ways to help the children and families at The Inn now are listed above this time, but please don’t forget that you can give the gift of life to NIH patients of all ages by donating blood or platelets to the NIH Blood Bank. Thank you!

Friday, November 6, 2020

It was a special treat for The Inn to receive an outdoors-only visit from Driven to Cure, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and provides funding for the research of rare kidney cancers in children and young adults. The organization’s custom-orange Nissan GTR sports car with all the bells and whistles parked in front of The Inn to delight Inn children and families who gladly explored the supercar and tried out its leather seats. Thanks, Driven to Cure, for visiting and bringing joy to our children, young adults and their families!

Other Inn updates:

  • Want to stay fit or need a little extra motivation to get off the couch and move around? We have the perfect opportunity for you! The Children’s Inn’s #INNitfor30 Virtual Fitness Challenge is looking for you to join and exercise any way you like, whether you prefer running, walking your dog, kayaking, paddle boarding, pushing a baby stroller or dancing—anything goes. We challenge you to work out a total of 30 miles any time this month and raise funds for The Children’s Inn at the same time. Click here for details or to register.
  • Tired of eating at home but not feeling safe to venture out to a restaurant? Join James Beard award-winning chef Bryan Voltaggio, whom you may know from Bravo’s Top Chef and Top Chef Masters contests, on Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. as he hosts a virtual, four-course culinary event along with Comedian and Foodie Billy Harris. While Bryan will show you how to prepare a gourmet meal with the perfect wine and cocktail pairings, and teach you how to cook a truly gourmet mushroom Bolognese, Billy will have you laughing out loud. So, get a date and get ready for a wonderful and fun culinary adventure! Meal ingredients, wine and cocktail pairings for two will be delivered to your door—as long as you live within a 20-mile radius of The Children’s Inn. To learn more, take a sneak peak at the menu or register, click here.

  • Your chance to play Santa virtually is here! Check out our holiday wish list if you’d like to make the holiday wishes of our children, young adults and their families come true.

Thanks for your support, and please make an extra effort to stay safe as we’re heading into a double-whammy flu and coronavirus season!

As always, here are the most impactful ways you can make a difference now:

Donate today

Friday, October 30, 2020

Hello, Halloween! Our children, teens and young adults have eagerly awaited this favorite holiday. Due to the pandemic, this year’s festivities look different from past years to keep children and families safe. Instead of trick-or-treating, children and young adults have had the chance to sign up for individual candy hunts to practice physical distancing, and we’ve been celebrating Halloweek all week long with a variety of fun activities.

Here are some more updates from The Inn:

  • As you know, The Children’s Inn has had to suspend all visitors, including our entire volunteer program, to limit our highly vulnerable children’s potential exposure to the coronavirus. As a result of suspending our very popular family dinner program, prepared or catered by generous volunteer groups, The Inn has picked up the cost to continue to provide safe, nutritious and delicious meals for our families. Prepared meals relieve the burden of illness on families, allowing them to relax and spend precious moments together rather than stress over ordering groceries, reserving coveted kitchen time to observe physical distancing guidelines, and cooking. Since the start of the pandemic, The Inn’s expenses for family meals have skyrocketed and now exceed $500,000. Our greatest need right now and over the holidays is raising funds for our popular Feeding Families Program. If you are able to help, please contribute here.
  • Even Zilly got into the Halloween spirit. How do you like her costume?

  • Our holiday wish list is now live. If you’d like to brighten the holidays for a child, young adult and their family members, please take a peek.

Happy Halloween! Please stay safe and healthy, and please let us know what you would like for us to address in our next Friday update by sending an email to: [email protected].

What’s the best way to make a difference for the children and families at The Inn now?

Donate today

Thank you for your support!

Friday, October 9, 2020

It sure can get lonely—and even boring—during a pandemic! And although we know that our health is the most precious thing we have, quarantine fatigue is a real phenomenon many people experience. As a result, people can become lax about important safety precautions, putting themselves and others at risk.

At The Children’s Inn, our programming department is working hard to organize fun and stimulating activities to help keep quarantined children and young people, and their caregivers, happy, occupied and involved in activities that bring them joy and let them experience the wonderful, supportive and soul-nurturing community that makes staying at The Inn so special. But our programming team is only partially responsible for making sure everyone feels welcome and supported at The Inn.

Missing so much from The Inn are our tremendous, caring volunteers who make such a difference for our families. We’re hoping to find some new ways to get at least some of them back to volunteering virtually with our children and families in the near future! Stay tuned for more soon.

Here are some more updates:

  • One of The Inn’s most popular family activities has been visits from Zilly’s friends from National Capital Therapy Dogs. Due to the pandemic, we had to temporarily put a stop to this activity. However, we are excited to soon be bringing back this immensely popular and powerful therapeutic activity with our much-beloved canines—albeit virtually.  Although our children and families won’t be able to pet Zest, Hunter and their friends, they’ll be able to watch them, learn about them and talk to their human companions. We hope the activity will bring joy to our many dog friends at The Inn!
  • It’s hard to believe the holidays are so close! Holiday planning is well underway at The Inn. And even if we are not able to hold all of our regular holiday activities the same way we always do, our staff and volunteers are looking for ways to make the holidays special and joyful for every child, young adult and their caretakers. This year’s Halloween festivities will be spread over an entire week—Halloweek. Instead of a traditional trick-or-treat activity, children of all ages may sign up for a Halloween candy and toy hunt.
  • Will Santa be able to come this year? Our friend from the North Pole is sure to make an appearance, and we’re working with Mrs. Claus and the elves on finding just the right time and place for his visit. We’ll keep you posted!
  • Two of our staff members recently were featured as healthcare heroes during DC United games broadcast on WJLA. Congratulations, Aisha Campbell and Kelly Nguyen, and the entire Children’s Inn resident services and programming teams. You are all healthcare heroes! That’s also true for all of our staff who work in less public-facing roles, including our facilities team, our wonderful cleaning crew, our finance team and others. Thank you for keeping The Children’s Inn running smoothly during this pandemic and for making sure every child and young adult whose best hope is an NIH clinical trial has a comfortable, nurturing “place like home” to get the unique medical care that is their best hope for a treatment or even a cure. Thank you!

Let us know if there’s a specific topic you’d like for us to address in a future Friday Update by sending an email to [email protected]. Have a good and safe weekend!

As always, here are simple and impactful ways to make a difference for Children’s Inn families now:

Donate today

Friday, October 2, 2020

Are you ready for fall? Because fall is clearly ready for us. As the pandemic continues, the sight of the first red and yellow leaves, decorative pumpkins, fall flowers and imaginative Halloween decorations can help ground us and put smiles on our pandemic-weary faces.

That’s what happened to us this week when one of our caring volunteers helped transform the entrance to The Inn into a cheerful fall scene that brings joy to every child, young adult, family and staff member entering or leaving our building. It’s just what we needed. Happy fall to all of you!

Here are some more updates from The Children’s Inn:

  • Renovations of our E-wing kitchen, dining room and living area are close to completion. We look forward to revealing the new kitchen soon, which will feature personal refrigerators, freezers and pantry space for each family. The newly designed dining and living areas will provide families with a variety of seating options in group settings or private booths. Look for photos and additional information in the next few weeks.
  • While The Children’s Inn serves mostly children and teens, our current residents are mostly teens and young adults. Why is this so? It’s an unusual coincidence. To best accommodate the large number of teens and young people, we are adjusting our programming and Thoughtful Treasures (daily mailbox gift program) to fit these age groups. We’re able to make these adjustments because of your support. Thank you for caring!
  • It’s time to express our gratitude and appreciation to an amazing community partner: VisArts in Rockville, Maryland. For years, our children, young people and their family members have enjoyed creating glass art with our friends at VisArts. Families take some of their art home and donate other pieces to our fundraising event auctions to help support The Inn. Normally, our families board a bus to take them to the VisArts studio, but during the pandemic, that’s not an option. To make this popular art activity possible and keep our vulnerable children safe, VisArts has provided us with glass art kits for our families to create beautiful pieces of art from the safety of their Children’s Inn rooms while following their VisArts instructor virtually. Upon completion, VisArts will pick up the artwork to fuse it in their kiln and return it to our families as wonderful mementos of special time spent together. Thank you, VisArts, for this wonderful partnership and for giving our children and families the chance to be creative and have fun!

Thank you for helping provide a “place like home” to seriously ill children and advancing clinical research for a brighter tomorrow!

If you’re looking for additional ways to support our families, here are the best options to make a difference now. If you have a new fundraising or volunteer project idea you’d like to explore with us, please send an email to [email protected]. Thanks!

Donate today

Friday, September 25, 2020

Weeks go by quickly when our work lives intertwine so seamlessly with our home lives during this unusual time. While more Children’s Inn staff are beginning to work more hours at The Inn instead of from home, many others keep teleworking.

However, the number of Inn residents continues to climb as the NIH Clinical Center is admitting more and more children and young adult patients for in-person checkups. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, we saw all of our 36 available family rooms occupied this past week—our E-wing’s 23 rooms are still undergoing needed renovations through at least the end of October.

Our strict safety precautions will remain in place for as long as needed, which, sadly, means we cannot yet welcome back many of our staff or any visitors or volunteers.

Additional updates:

  • The Children’s Inn is grateful to our caring Women for The Inn (WINN) members for pledging to provide two months of meals to our children and families with a generous donation to our Feeding Families program. In addition, the dynamic group will fund a wide range of kitchen appliances and items our families have asked for, including kosher and halal kitchenware, new blenders and slow cookers, Dutch ovens and more. Thank you, WINN! The group is always ready to welcome new members. Click here to learn more or to join.
  • The Children’s Inn also deeply appreciates a generous $30,000 grant from The Children’s Cancer Foundation to fund the 7thAnnual “Shirley’s Kids” Respite Weekend. In addition, the grant will support our family programming to bring more fun recreational, educational and therapeutic activities to our children, young adults and caretakers.
  • Like many of our employees, Zilly, our therapy dog, is only back at The Inn part-time to bring joy and snuggles to her young friends at The Inn. Whenever she arrives, she runs down the halls looking for children and families to greet and to throw her favorite pink dragon toy.

  • It’s not too late to get your special-edition 30th anniversary Children’s Inn T-shirt, available in women’s, men’s and youth sizes. Order yours today. The sale ends Sept. 30.

From all of us at The Inn and those working from home, have a safe and relaxing weekend!

As always, here are the most impactful ways for you to make a difference for the children, young people and their family members we are serving now:

Donate today

Monday, September 21, 2020

Children’s Inn resident Autumn’s story was prominently featured in the Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, edition of The Washington Post. We hope you enjoyed reading about this inspirational young girl and family! If you haven’t, click here to read about her and The Children’s Inn on the Washington Post website.

Thanks to your support, The Inn has played a very important role in this special girl’s life. Autumn has been participating in NIH clinical trials for her inoperable tumor since she was a toddler. With her mom, she has stayed at The Inn more than 30 times, making it comfortable, affordable and fun for her to participate in NIH clinical trials that are her best hope to stop her dangerous facial tumor from growing—and to even shrink it.

Autumn was born with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a genetic tumor predisposition disorder. While her tumors are non-cancerous, they can still cause a lot of problems. Autumn’s facial tumor not only has disfigured her face but also has caused her to go blind in one eye. Even more concerning, the tumor is entwined with an important artery and her brainstem, and nobody knows what could happen if Autumn’s tumor continued to grow.

Thanks to a revolutionary clinical trial at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Autumn has experienced episodes of tumor shrinkage and regrowth. However, most importantly, her tumor has not shown any new growth, a remarkable achievement that allows the cheerful young girl to pursue her favorite activities: zipping from the slide to the swing to a spinning cocoon on The Inn’s playground, playing games on her iPad, making cartwheels at The Inn’s 2019 An Evening for Hope gala and just being herself.

But Autumn’s trial participation is not just helping her. Earlier this year, the trial drug selumetinib that Autumn and other young Inn residents have been testing became the first FDA-approved treatment for NF1. It’s a significant achievement that gives hope to thousands of children and young people across the nation and the world who are affected by this previously untreatable disorder.

Autumn and her family are tremendously grateful to you for making it possible for them to have a true “place like home” at The Inn, enjoy prepared meals and to participate in fun, educational and therapeutic activities—all free of charge—while Autumn participates in life-changing clinical research at the NIH. Thank you!

Want to learn more about Autumn? Watch a video about her here.

Here are the most impactful ways to help children like Autumn and their families now. We are so grateful for your support that changes children’s lives every day.

Have a good, safe week!

Donate today

Friday, September 11, 2020

As we’re headed into the weekend, The Children’s Inn staff is preparing for a continually increasing number of residents in the weeks to come. Thanks to stringent safety measures taken by the NIH Clinical Center staff and The Children’s Inn, we have been able to keep vulnerable children and families safe, and more and more of our residents are coming back for in-person appointments at the NIH. It feels good for our staff and young people to see one another again, as all of us appreciate the feeling of even small returns to normalcy in a very much abnormal situation.

Here are additional updates:

  • Thanks to a generous grant from the Cyrus Katzen Foundation, The Children’s Inn has been able to provide free transportation to families traveling to Washington by plane. Meeting them at the airport at the time of arrival, our personal shuttle service takes tremendous stress off families who often travel many hours from across the country and as far as Australia for the chance to participate in NIH clinical trials. Rather than waiting for the NIH airport shuttles that run every three hours, families tired from long travel can relax in the comfort of their personal car shuttle transporting them straight to The Children’s Inn. While this service has been available to families traveling to The Inn on their first visit, we are now able to extend it to every family using air travel. A big thanks to the Cyrus Katzen Foundation for making this special service possible to help relieve the burden of illness and travel stress on our families!
  • Our virtual family programming provided two wonderful treats for residents of all ages this week: A virtual concert by the band 123 Andrés, a bilingual children’s band that is a big hit with children everywhere. The band’s upbeat music, Spanish and English lyrics, and Latin rhythms get everyone moving and dancing, and singing along. Also, a virtual movie night with popcorn and candy provided another chance for school night fun for children and their parents.
  • Have you seen our 30th-anniversary logo? Thanks for making it possible for The Children’s Inn to serve more than 16,000 children, young adults and their families over the past 30 years! It’s all possible only because you care!

  • Get “INN it” and celebrate our 30th anniversary with us by donning our limited-edition “INN it” T-shirt, available in men’s, women’s and youth sizes for a small donation. See it below and order yours here. Don’t forget to order one for every member of your family, so nobody feels left out! Please share photos on social media and let the world know why you’re “INN it for making childhood possible for seriously ill children and advancing medical research for a brighter tomorrow.” Thank you!

Want to do more? Here are the most impactful ways to help now—but don’t forget Children’s Inn anniversary shirts are only available during the month of September.

Donate today

Friday, September 4, 2020

Labor Day weekend marks the end of a truly unusual summer and the start of a truly unique back-to-school week. At The Children’s Inn, we’re ready to provide academic support and tutoring to children staying with us as they participate in virtual classrooms or in-person school. Your support of The Inn makes this possible – and it’s very much needed during this uncertain time.

Your support also gives our children and families the chance to celebrate Labor Day with a traditional cookout with hamburgers, hot dogs and other picnic foods, and some fun activities. Thank you!

We sincerely hope that this holiday weekend will provide you with some rest, the chance to eat good food and get ready for fall, which always seems to come a little too soon!

Here are some Children’s Inn news from the past week:

  • Alison, 19, from El Salvador recently shared her story of being diagnosed with not one—but two—life-threatening diseases with our local NBC4/Telemundo44 station. You may see her interview in Spanish here. Now you may also watch a video of Alison telling her story in English, or you may read her story here. Thank you again for making it possible for Alison and her mom to spend more than two and a half years at The Inn free of charge so this remarkable young lady could get the medical help she was not able to get anywhere else!

  • To accommodate our increased family programming and educational activities, The Inn’s programming staff working on site has also increased to two staff members at a time.
  • To celebrate The Children’s Inn’s 30th anniversary and all we’ve achieved together, we’re excited to reveal our limited-edition anniversary T-shirt. Take the chance to show you’re “INN it” by purchasing our anniversary T-shirt today—it’s only available in September. Please be sure to post a picture of yourself in your shirt on social media along with why you’re “INN it”– and don’t forget to tag us!

Thank you for all you do to help the children and families who call The Inn home! Here are additional ways to help now:

Donate today

Friday, August 28, 2020

A most unusual summer is drawing to a close, but other than milder weather, we don’t expect fall to bring many changes. We continue to keep up strict guidelines for the safety of our children and families during the pandemic, although we are working on bringing back a few physically distanced, in-person activities for small groups of children when possible. We know this will be very meaningful to our families, especially those who stay long-term.

Here are some additional updates:

  • We continue to see an increase in reservations as the NIH Clinical Center is welcoming back more pediatric study participants with non-critical diseases. More than half of our rooms and one of our apartments will be occupied in the week to come.
  • The local NBC4/Telemundo44 station filmed and interviewed Children’s Inn resident Alison, 19, and her mom, Rocío, of El Salvador last week. The family has spent a total of more than two and a half years with us over the course of the last four years. During that time, Alison has been treated for two potentially fatal diseases. Thanks to life-saving clinical research done by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Alison is doing well and looking forward to returning home to her dad and sister in early fall. After a difficult physical recovery from a bone marrow transplant, your donation of a tent to The Children’s Inn helped Alison find new strength and allowed her to find hope for a bright future. Thank you for all you do for young people like Alison! Your support provides them with a safe, welcoming “place like home” at The Inn so they can participate in lifesaving clinical research and find the support and inspiration to overcome challenging emotional situations. Please watch her interview here (in Spanish).

  • For a few weeks, Children’s Inn volunteer Nick Casertano has led a Zoom-based Lego-building challenge with our children. Monday is the last challenge activity, and we’re excited that WETA, a Maryland Public TV station, has decided to highlight Nick for a hero feature based on his volunteer work with our children. We’ll provide you with a link to the story next week.

Is there something you’d like to see us address in our Friday updates? Let us know by sending an email to [email protected].

Thank you for your continued support and have a safe, relaxing weekend!

As always, here are the most impactful ways to make a difference for children and families staying at The Inn now:

Donate today

Friday, August 21, 2020

How can we measure the impact of your support on Children’s Inn families? Since opening our doors in 1990, your support has allowed us to serve more than 16,000 children and families. While this number is impressive, it doesn’t capture what matters most: the impact on children’s health or families’ well-being–much less the important NIH research our children help drive forward. And perhaps the most important impact–the precious moments of joy seriously ill children experience during family activities, when they hug our therapy dog Zilly or when they feel accepted for who they are, regardless of their health conditions–is immeasurable.

However, it can be captured in individual children’s and young people’s stories — stories of triumph, of acceptance, of new treatments and hard-to-come-by cures as well as stories about individual gifts that can give a beaten-down young adult the hope she needs that a bright future awaits.

That’s the story of Alison, 19, of El Salvador. Alison first came to The Inn a few years ago after the then 15-year-old had been diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening blood disorder called severe aplastic anemia, also referred to as bone marrow failure. Alison spent one and a half years at The Children’s Inn to participate in a National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center. The trial medication eventually was able to stimulate her bone marrow to onec again produce the blood and platelets she needs to live. After returning home to El Salvador, Alison resumed her normal life – only to be diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia caused by her blood disorder one year later. She returned to The Inn in the summer of 2019 for cancer treatment as part of an NHLBI clinical trial. Thanks to a bone marrow transplant, she is finally healthy again.

However, just when Alison had completed her six-month recovery from her transplant, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and Alison could not safely leave the NIH campus. Being severely immunocompromised due to her treatment, she could not pursue favorite activities like going to the mall or the movies, biking, hiking, or camping. For the first time in her life, Alison was feeling sad and anxious. One day, she asked our staff if we had a tent she could borrow. Although we didn’t, our staff ordered her a tent and surprised her with it a few days later. Elated, Alison immediately set it up on the grassy areas by The Inn’s playground. That first night in the tent was a special one for her.

Inn resident Allison in her tent

“Camping on The Children’s Inn playground park made me feel good again,” she says. “It made me not feel like a sick patient who needs to take medicine every day but like a young adult with her future ahead of her. It made me feel like me again. Happy. I knew things would be OK again.”

That’s the power your support of The Children’s Inn has–to transform lives through a single gift!

Since then, Alison has used her tent as her personal space to read, journal, reflect, listen to music, watch the stars and observe the NIH campus deer herd from up close.

But Alison and her family are not only grateful for the tent and Alison’s improved outlook on life. Most of all, they are grateful for having been able to stay at The Inn for more than two and a half years free of charge to participate in clinical trials that have saved Alison’s life twice.

“Without the NIH or The Children’s Inn, I might not be here today,” Alison says.

Alison and her mom, Rocio, had the chance to share their story of hope and gratitude with the local NBC4/Telemundo44 station this week. You can watch the story air Monday on the Telemundo44 evening news. And no worries if you miss it. We’ll share more about Alison’s story with you in the next couple of weeks.

Thank you for everything you do for children and young people like Alison and her family!

Here is another recent event that brought hope and happiness during this difficult time:

This week, The Inn and Inn founder and trustee Dr. Lori Wiener, a longtime, leading staff member at the National Cancer Institute, held the annual Sibling Day to celebrate the important contributions brothers and sisters make to the health and well-being of their sick siblings and their entire family. Held via video conference technology, this was the first Sibling Day to allow for siblings not currently staying at The Inn to participate. It was a resounding success! More than 25 children participated in two hours of virtual activities. Children between the ages of 3 and 18 learned about some of their sick siblings’ medical procedures typically undergo at the NIH and used their creativity during an art activity that had them reflect on their feelings. Most importantly, Sibling Day honored siblings as “super sibs.”

“You are a ‘Super Sib,’” Wiener said during the Sibling Day awards ceremony that concluded Sibling Day 2020. “So you will never forget how special and important you are in your family. You are all kind and smart and important. Congratulations, ‘Super Sibs!’”

Thank you for all the special moments of joy you help make happen, and have a good, restful weekend!

If you want to do more for our children and families, we have a special opportunity to double your gift to The Inn during the month of August. Thanks to Merck’s matching gift challenge, every monetary donation you make this month will be doubled dollar for dollar and go twice as far. Donate here to take advantage of the matching gift challenge.

Here are the most impactful ways to make a difference now:

Donate today

Friday, August 14, 2020

As you’re heading into the weekend, we’d love to ask you for your thoughts about our newsletters. Do you like them? Do you wish to read more about a certain topic and less about another? Would you like to see more videos or different ones? Please help us create the most relevant newsletter content for you by taking a brief 2-min. survey. More information below.

Here are some quick updates from the past week:

  • Our therapy dog, Zilly, is spending more time at The Inn again. She’s one of our staff members we are slowly phasing back to working at The Inn. Here’s a photo of Zilly hard at work:

  • An outdoor ice cream social brought our long-term families together for cool conversation from a safe physical distance.
  • Our children decorated puzzle pieces to show what The Inn means to them. Take a look at the love and happiness your support of The Inn brings:

  • Big thanks to Nick Casertano who challenges our children and young adults to weekly Lego building competitions. Your thoughtful activities bring so much joy to our children as they challenge themselves creatively. Thank you!
  • Our virtual summer concert series featured American Idol Finalist Jeremiah Harmon’s live music and delighted not only our children and families but more than 1,000 viewers who have watched a video of the performance online. If you haven’t seen it, watch it here.

  • All good things must end, so the saying goes. And while we’re sad to see World Central Kitchen’s (WCK) meal service for our families end this week, we are filled with gratitude for Chef José Andrés’ amazing support of our children as they boldly participate in clinical research studies to help NIH scientists find new treatments and cures. World Central Kitchen has nourished our families and their hearts. We applaud Chef Andrés and WCK for immediately heading to Lebanon after the terrible explosion destroyed large parts of Beirut, a city already struggling with so many challenges. Thank you, Chef Andrés and World Central Kitchen, for your big hearts and exemplary work!
  • The Inn has installed large, colorful metal flowers with solar-powered lights around our playround. We hope our families will enjoy the flowers by day and the sparkle and magic of the color-changing lights after dark.

It’s time for us to hear from you! Your opinion matters and will help us create newsletters with the content enjoy most. So, if you have a little time to spare now or this weekend, would you please consider taking this 2-min. survey to help us improve The Inn’s newsletters?

Yes, take me to The Children’s Inn’s newsletter readership survey!

Thank you! If your spouse, partner, family members or friends also support The Inn, please ask them to participate in our brief survey as well. Simply copy this quick message with a link to the survey and paste it into an email:

Please let The Children’s Inn know how you like their newsletters by taking this 2-min. survey:

Thank you for your support and have a safe, relaxing weekend!

As always, here are the most important ways you can make a difference for Children’s Inn families now:

Donate today

Friday, July 31, 2020

The summer heat has been relentless in Bethesda, Maryland, for the past week. And just as the summer is heating up, we’re also seeing an increase in families staying at The Inn — peaking at 29 this week. Here are some additional updates from The Inn:

  • The Children’s Inn gratefully acknowledges a $30,000 grant from The Children’s Cancer Foundation to support our family activities and respite programs.
  • We are looking forward to a new partnership with Monumental Sports & Entertainment and KETTLER. Their Raise the Game Virtual 5K, set for the weekend of Friday, Aug. 7 – Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, will raise funds equally for The Children’s Inn and MSE Foundation’s Feeding the Frontlines fund. Registration is $20. Click here to sign up. Thank you, KETTLER and MSE, for helping provide free lodging and support to children and young adults with rare diseases so they can participate in NIH clinical research studies!
  • We are excited that the much-needed renovation of our E-Wing kitchen, dining areas and family gathering spaces is progressing. The new kitchen will feature individual fridges ad cabinets for families to make food storage safer. We hope to be able to complete this work and open the areas up to families in September.
  • Thanks to all of our supporters who have signed up for our 13thAnnual Children’s Inn Golf INNvitational set for Oct. 9! We appreciate your enthusiasm for supporting The Inn by participating in this fun event despite the difficult circumstances. It’s our only in-person event this year, and we are excited to announce it is sold out. Thank you!

Are you looking for additional ways to make a difference for Inn children and families? Here are the best ways to help now:

Donate today

Friday, July 24, 2020

This week, children of all ages and young adults staying at The Inn waited eagerly for a very special guest and his characteristic, “Ho, ho, ho!” But for this year’s Christmas in July, “Hot, hot, hot!” would have been just as appropriate a greeting. Luckily, neither the unusual heat nor a torrential thunderstorm could deter Santa Claus from coming to The Children’s Inn yesterday to bring joy to our families. Santa’s motorcycle elves from the Montgomery County Police Department and the NIH Police also were willing to put up with the weather extremes to shower children and young adults, their siblings, parents and caregivers with Christmas in July gifts.

“It was good, thousand times good!” Ujji, 8, from Mongolia says about the first Children’s Inn live event in months.

To keep everyone safe, Santa and his elves wore masks and made sure to physically distance as much as possible.

Santa also had a special safety message for his young fans: “We are so, so glad to be here,” he says. “This is a strange time. You know Santa, I’m a hugger. But we cannot hug today. But that only means I love you more. I’ll be hugging you in my dreams tonight.”

After a brief stop at the NIH Clinical Center to greet children and young people who are inpatient at the word’s largest hospital dedicated entirely to clinical research, Santa returned to The Inn to welcome children and families to board buses decorated for everyone’s favorite season. Escorted by flashing lights and blaring sirens, Santa and his elves guided their special guests across the NIH campus, waving to NIH staff they passed along the route.

Back at The Inn, Santa and his elves presented gift bags to children, their siblings and family members. The gifts, made possible by caring community members, included toys, insulated cups, blue tooth speakers, snacks and blankets.

In addition to gifts, children and young adults enjoyed playing in machine-made snow in the July heat and eating a special pizza and salad dinner, followed by a scrumptious cake to round out the special Christmas in July event.

Laura King, who leads The Inn’s volunteer and community outreach, says: “The Children’s Inn thanks our caring community members for donating to make gifts possible. We are also very grateful to NIH and Montgomery County Police for playing motorcycle elves and bringing joy to our children time after time. A special thanks to MCPD Officer Bobby Ladany who has been our Santa for many, many years and to the WINN (Women for The Inn) who donated meals and dessert. This is such a special, wonderful event for our children and families – especially during this difficult, uncertain time!”

Thanks to all of you who contributed to make this unusual Christmas in July an especially joyful and memorable event for everyone staying at The Children’s Inn!

Have a good weekend and stay safe! As always, here are the most urgent ways you can make a difference now:

Donate today

Friday, July 17, 2020

At The Inn, summer is usually our busiest time. But as we all know all too well, everything is different this year. This is our first summer that we’re not entirely booked. However, reservations are picking up as the NIH Clinical Center is admitting more patients with non-critical diseases.

To keep families safe as our halls fill again, we continue to work closely with our friends in epidemiology at NIH. As you may be aware, everyone at The Inn wears masks, everyone is instructed to mind physical distancing, everyone entering The Inn undergoes a health check, and everyone using the kitchens must sign up for a time slot to ensure only two families are sharing the space at a time.

Here are some more updates about The Inn:

  • In a recent Friday update we told you how our INNrichment Fund is benefiting a number of young people this year. This special fund supports children and young adults academically or therapeutically once they have returned home. Among them is Andrés, who underwent a bone marrow transplant at NIH two years ago for a rare and aggressive type of lymphoma and spent many months at The Inn. Andrés’ cancer is in remission, and he is back to Bates College in Maine where he is majoring in politics and economics. This summer, he is doing a virtual internship at a large firm in New York City. However, he didn’t have the second computer screen he needed. He also lacked the air conditioner to keep the temperature constant in his small dorm room – a requirement for his delicate health. Finally, due to the demands of his internship, he often doesn’t have the chance to make it to the school cafeteria during opening hours. To help him, we provided him with an INNrichment scholarship so he could buy the additional computer screen, a portable air conditioner, a grill and a coffeemaker, and gift cards for food. He recently sent photos and a short video to thank you for helping make this internship a possibility – and he’s already been told he will receive a job offer after earning his diploma. Thank you for supporting the INNrichment Fund. You are helping put our young people on a trajectory to long-term success!
  • We appreciate Christine Grady for speaking virtually to the Women at The Inn group this week about vulnerability and COVID-19: an ethical perspective. Dr. Grady is a Children’s Inn board member and co-chair of The Inn’s clinical advisory committee. She is a trained nurse-bioethicist and a senior investigator who serves as the chief of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. Thank you, Dr. Grady, for this enlightening and thought-provoking presentation! If you’re interested in joining Women for The Inn (WINN), please click here for more information.
  • Next week, for our Christmas in July event, Santa and his NIH and Montgomery County Police elves will deliver gifts for 26 families – more than 56 children, young adults and their family members. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to bring joy to our children and families!
  • Sadly, due to the ongoing pandemic, we have decided to extend pausing volunteer activities at The Inn until at least Aug. 31. As the numbers of coronavirus infections are rising again in the community, we believe that limiting all visitors to The Inn for the near future is the best way to help keep our highly vulnerable children and families as safe as possible. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation!

Is there something else you’d like to learn about in our Friday update? Please send an email to [email protected].

As always, thanks for all you do! Here are the most impactful ways you can make a difference for children and families helped by The Inn now:

Donate today

Friday, July 10, 2020

We’re sure you’ve noticed, but it’s hot outside! Due to the heatwave and the pandemic, most of our children and families are staying inside to stay cool and physically distanced. But thanks to your support, they still had the chance to grill favorite foods to celebrate Independence Day and participate in an indoor scavenger hunt on July 4.

Due to the unusual circumstances, it was one of the quietest holidays – but also most magic-filled thanks to a special supporter – we’ve ever experienced at The Inn. Here’s a look back at the past week at The Inn:

  • Thanks to Children’s Inn board member Brian Kelly and his daughter, Laura, our children and families were able to participate in a mind-popping, belly laugh-filled magic show over the holiday weekend that mesmerized children and adults alike. Via Zoom, two magicians entertained families at The Inn and at home. Here’s a taste of a magic trick Inn resident Ujji picked up:

  • Our therapy dog Zilly managed to go on a small vacation and enjoyed endless fun running with the waves along a quiet beach. Some cooling off is what we all need right now!


View this post on Instagram


Every dog has her day 🏖

A post shared by Zilly (@zilly_the_therapy_dog) on

  • Thanks to all of you who have donated to help make Christmas in July a joyful one for our children, their siblings and families as well as our young adults! We look forward to celebrating this special event with the help of the Montgomery County Police Department, NIH Police, Women for The Inn (WINN) and your support on July 22. Stay tuned for more information. To support the initiative, click here.
  • The Children’s Inn congratulates Randy Schools, an Inn founder and longtime supporter, for being honored as a Bethesda Community Baseball Club Big Train Community Hero. All of us at The Children’s Inn appreciate Randy for his vision, hard work and dedication in helping make The Inn a reality 30 years ago and for helping keep us going since!

We wish you a safe, healthful and at least somewhat cool weekend. Thanks for all you do, and please help us spread the word about the support we need most now:

Donate today

Friday, July 3, 2020

The Children’s Inn team wishes you a Happy Fourth of July!

Thanks for all you do to help seriously ill children access unique medical care only available through NIH clinical trials and for making childhood possible. Because of you, the children and families at The Inn now will have the chance to celebrate Independence Day with a traditional cookout.

Thank you!

Here are the best ways to make a difference for the children, young people and their families staying at The Inn now:

Donate today

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Children’s Inn at NIH turned 30 this week! Congratulations and thanks to all of you who are “INN it” to help make childhood possible and advance new treatments and cures for seriously ill children and young adults!

This is a significant milestone, and we are especially grateful to our founders and supporters who believed in our “place like home” when it was just an idea. They worked tirelessly for many years to make the dream of providing free lodging and support to all the families of children and young adults who are participating in NIH clinical research studies a reality. As a result of their dedication and your unwavering support, The Children’s Inn has helped more than 15,000 children and young adults since 1990, and advanced medical discoveries that are changing the lives of countless children around the world.

To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we are launching a year-long campaign to highlight some of the children and young adults you have helped and the medical discoveries to which they have contributed. We will also highlight some of you, our dedicated supporters, who are making it all possible. Thanks for being “INN it” for children and young adults whose best chance is an NIH clinical research study!

Here are some updates from the past week:

  • If you happen to come to the NIH, you will see our 30th anniversary flags on lamp posts across campus. Look for them, snap a pic and mention us on social media!
  • As the District of Columbia is slowly opening up from the coronavirus-related shutdown, Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen (WCK) will no longer have access to the kitchens at Nationals Park. While the nonprofit is scaling down its free hot-meals service, WCK will continue to provide children and families at The Inn with wonderful, nutritious breakfast meals. We will use our Feeding Families Fund – that many of you have supported – to supply lunch and dinners from local restaurants to our families. A big thanks to Chef Andrés and WCK – as well as all of you – for helping make sure our families eat well while they are going through the most challenging time of their lives!
  • Thank you for making Father’s Day special for all the dads and male caregivers at The Inn! Thanks to you, they woke up to enjoy a special brunch catered by Silver, received gift boxes filled with goodies and played minigolf, a treat provided by Inn supporter Ben Jaffe and his friends.

  • Your support has made a new hanging rocking chair possible in our play room. It’s already a favorite among our children and families. Thank you!

Ujji in the playroom

Have a good weekend and stay safe!

Here are the best ways to make a difference for the children, young people and their families staying at The Inn now:

Donate today

June 19, 2020

This Juneteenth, The Children’s Inn at NIH salutes the #BlackLivesMatter movement for pushing racially motivated violence and systemic racism into the global spotlight, and igniting much-needed introspection and discussion to spark fundamental change everywhere, including at The Children’s Inn.

June 19, 1865, brought freedom to the enslaved people in Texas nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed. The day has been celebrated as Juneteenth since and is a holiday in most states, though state governments are only now starting to follow Texas’ example of making Juneteenth an official state holiday. As Americans grapple with how to address systemic racism, states, companies and institutions are recognizing the importance of officially commemorating this historic day. At The Inn, we established a working group among our board of directors two years ago to help make sure our values of diversity and equality are reflected in everything we do. We recently added a similar group composed of staff members. The important discussion we are having as part of these groups also will focus on how we can mark Juneteenth at The Children’s Inn in a meaningful way moving forward. We will continually update you on our progress.

At The Children’s Inn, we believe in the power of diversity and stand firm in our commitment to providing a free and welcoming “place like home” for children and young adults of all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, skin colors, national origins, sexual orientations or identities who participate in NIH clinical research studies. Because every ill child deserves help, and every family deserves hope. We are grateful to our caring supporters for making childhood possible for all children today and a treatment or cure possible tomorrow. Thank you!

Here are some Children’s Inn updates:

  • Sunday is Father’s Day. This year, we’re honoring our amazing dads and other male caregivers with a gift and a special brunch. On Sunday, we’ll also share the story about one of our wonderful dads who has spent years away from his wife and sons to seek life-saving medical care for his daughter. Look for his story on social media, and please share it with your networks. Here’s a sneak peek at this remarkable father’s story.

Read more about how Carlos saved his daughter’s life.

  • One of our young adult residents recently expressed her desire to be out in nature, going on hikes, riding a bike or going camping. While none of this is possible for the leukemia patient at this time, one of our staff members had an idea he immediately put into practice. Soon, we were able to provide the young woman with a tent and basic camping equipment, so she could safely spend nights camping out in the grassy, wooded area surrounding The Inn’s playground. She’s loved the thoughtful gesture and has enjoyed a couple of warm June nights outdoors already, looking for chances to watch the NIH deer herd up close that also calls our playground home. Your donations are bringing precious moments of joy to this young woman as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Thank you!

Allison enjoys her favorite snacks in her tent near The Inn’s playground.

  • We’re about to mail our last INNspirations print newsletter before moving it online. If you are on our mailing list, please register your email address with us at to be sure you continue to receive our electronic version of INNspirations. Please also help us learn more about what you want to hear from us by participating in our brief and anonymous newsletter readership survey going live next week.
  • Since 2017, The Children’s Inn has awarded $1,500 individual scholarships to more than 90 children and young adults. The INNrichment Fund, supported by a group of caring donors, helps families and young people afford lessons or activities that aid in a child’s therapy or development while they’re recovering from a difficult treatment at The Inn or once they’ve returned home. This fiscal year, we have awarded 28 scholarships so far to help pay for gymnastics lessons for a girl with an incurable neurodegenerative disorder and community college courses for a long-term young adult resident as well as karate and piano lessons, university tuition and continuing education courses for others. Thank you for making this scholarship fund a possibility to bring joy to children, help further their education or allow them to participate in crucial therapeutic activities!

We wish all of you a happy Juneteenth and all of our dad supporters and the dads in your lives a happy Father’s Day!

As always, here are the most important ways you can make a difference for the children and young people at The Children’s Inn:

Donate today

June 12, 2020

Although the official start of summer is still a few days away, it definitely has started feeling like summer in Bethesda, Maryland, where temperatures have climbed into the lower 90s. But thanks to your support, our families are looking forward to lots of fun recreational and educational activities as part of our annual summer programming, including Camp INNcredible and our concert series. To keep our children safe, many of the activities will be held on computer screens rather than face-to-face.

This year especially, we’re also looking forward to the day after the official start of summer. On June 21, we’ll celebrate all the wonderful fathers at The Inn with a special breakfast and gifts. We’ll also commemorate another special occasion: The Children’s Inn official opening 30 years ago.

In 1990, we held our ribbon-cutting ceremony led by President George Herbert Walker Bush and his wife, Barbara, and attended by our first children and families, staff, founders, supporters and distinguished guests.

President George H.W. Bush and Barabara Bush with kids cutting the ribbon at Children's Inn opening

Due to the pandemic, our 30th anniversary this month will be a quieter event. Nevertheless, we are excited to celebrate our beginning and history with you in the months to come, along with the thousands of children and young adults you have helped and the many pediatric medical milestones the NIH achieved during this time.

We’ll also recognize you, The Children’s Inn’s loyal supporters who have stood with us since 1990 – and even before, when The Inn was just a concept. Thank you for supporting The Children’s Inn’s mission for more than 30 years!

Here are a few happenings from the past week:

  • A big thank you to Montgomery County Police Lieutenant David McBain and members of his team who held an online Bingo game with our children and families this week. Rather than handing out prizes in person, children could pick out their prizes at The Inn’s reception desk after the game night ended.
  • The Children’s Inn now has seven bird feeders positioned for families to watch birds from the comfort of their rooms. The bird feeders have become increasingly popular, bringing joy to families who spend many hours confined to their rooms to practice physical distancing. Your support helps relieve the burden of illness on families, makes childhood possible today and a treatment or cure possible tomorrow. Thank you!

And here’s a look ahead to next week:

  • June 19 is World Sickle Cell Day. At The Children’s Inn, we have provided “a place like home” to many children and young adults with the devastating blood disorder over the years, so they could participate in life-saving clinical trials conducted by doctors at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). However, for many of the more than one hundred thousand people living with sickle cell disease in this country, blood transfusions are essential to survive. However, due to the pandemic, many blood banks are experiencing blood shortages. If you are able to give blood and you are of African, Latinx or Middle Eastern ancestry, your blood is especially needed right now. Please consider making a blood donation to the NIH Blood Bank or another blood bank to help save the lives of patients with sickle cell and other diseases.

We wish you a safe and healthy weekend! Here are some additional ways you can make a difference now:

Donate today

June 5, 2020

At The Children’s Inn, our mission is to provide a free, welcoming “place like home” to children and young adults of all backgrounds, ethnicities, faiths, colors, national origins, sexual orientations and identities whose best hope is a clinical trial at the NIH. Here, children see one another as playmates, and adults find a supportive community. No matter where families come from or what languages they speak, they instantly understand one another, united by the challenge of finding a treatment for their children’s rare or undiagnosed diseases.

As our country grapples with a deadly pandemic, terrifying instances of racially motivated violence against communities of color as well as the ensuing unrest, The Children’s Inn remains fiercely committed to our mission and deeply grateful for your continued support. Thank you for helping create a community at The Inn that uplifts families of seriously ill children and replenishes their hope in a better tomorrow, regardless of who they are or where they are from!

Here is a brief look at some of the highlights of the past week at The Inn:

  • Children and families enjoyed an outdoor picnic and movie this week, bringing joy and laughter to our playground and grassy areas out back. Families received picnic blankets and individually packaged barbecue meals, and played outdoor games. To stay safe, they practiced physical distancing to other families and wore masks whenever possible. The picnic, blanket and activities were a gift to our families from The Children’s Inn’s board of directors.
  • The Children’s Inn is seeing a continuous uptick in the number of reservations as the NIH Clinical Center welcomes back more and more pediatric and young adult patients with non-critical diseases for treatment.
  • Virtual fitness classes, including Tabata and yoga, will resume this week for families and staff.
  • A big thanks to The Clark Winchole Foundation for their $25,000 gift in support of our education program!

Thank you for all you do! We wish your health, safety and peace during this challenging time.

As always, here are the most impactful ways you can make a difference now:

Donate today

May 29, 2020

As businesses open back up and pandemic-related restrictions loosen, The Children’s Inn is preparing for an increase in families.

In order to protect vulnerable children and young adults, we are implementing a host of additional safety measures. Please view these and other Children’s Inn news below:

  • While we are continuing to serve the children with the most urgent medical needs, our reservations are expected to increase this summer as children and young adults return to The Inn to take part in noncritical, routine checkups at the NIH Clinical Center. To safely accommodate larger numbers of people, we are limiting the number of families per kitchen to two at a time. Families now reserve times electronically. In addition, children and young people must check out equipment to use our game room, so we can help ensure physical distancing and disinfect items and surfaces. Finally, foot stickers show families where to stand to maintain the recommended distance to others while in line at our front desk.
  • Memorial Day was a quieter holiday than usual at The Inn, but thanks to your support, our families enjoyed hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, ice cream and popsicles as well as lawn games and outdoor activities. Thank you!
  • On Wednesday, The Children’s Inn was featured on Good Morning Washington, a local TV morning show. Check it out!
  • Zilly, our beloved therapy dog, was back at The Inn this week after spending several weeks “working from home.” Our families enjoyed seeing her around, and Zilly loves being at her favorite place, around her favorite people: our children and families.

  • The Children’s Inn is grateful for a $25,000 grant for family programs from The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. The grant will help us provide traditional and virtual activities to our children and families as well as our young adults.
  • How can we safely bring back our administrative staff and volunteers? We are making plans to slowly return to more normal operations over the coming months. Due to the difficulty of predicting how the current crisis may develop, we are making tentative plans that can be adjusted at a moment’s notice. Once finalized, we will share these plans with you.

We wish you and your loved ones a safe and relaxing weekend. If you’re looking for a way to make a difference for our children and families now, here are the most impactful ways to do so:

Donate today

May 22, 2020

How are you commemorating Memorial Day this year? Physical distancing doesn’t permit us to host a large gathering as we normally would. However, your support is helping us provide families with hamburgers, hot dogs and all the fixings so they may create their own holiday meals.

To maintain physical distancing, families can sign up for time slots to use our new high-end outdoor cooking station – thank you, Anthony Wilder Design/Build and partners – or to prepare their food in one of our community kitchens.

We’re also making outdoor activities available, including chalk for sidewalk art as well as lawn games and bubbles for a little magic and loads of fun.

What else is new at The Inn?

  • We are grateful to the Rock and Roll for Children Foundation (RRFC) for their generous $50,000 donation to The Inn. The foundation, created by Jon Belinkie and Lou Marmon, puts on a great rock concert every year to benefit The Children’s Inn. Due to the pandemic, this year’s concert had to be canceled, but RRCF still raised this incredible amount to support the seriously ill children and young adults who are seeking help and hope in NIH clinical trials at this time. Thank you, Jon and Lou, and Rock and Roll for Children Foundation, along with all of your supporters, for your big hearts and this generous contribution. You rock!
  • We appreciate the kind folks from the NIH police and Montgomery County Police Department who came back this week to safely play tic-tac-toe using the large window to our playground as a game board and finger paints. Thank you for bringing joy to our children and families once again!

NIH police officers participate in a socially-distanced game of tic-tac-toe with residents with glass between them

  • The Children’s Inn is about to turn 30. Thanks to your support, The Inn opened its doors to our first families in June, 1990. While we cannot hold a anniversary bash this year, we do want to celebrate all we have accomplished together, albeit not in person but via email and our website. In the months to come, we will highlight the groundbreaking medical discoveries children and families staying at The Inn have contributed to over the years. We will also tell you about some of the more than 15,000 children, their families and young adults we served with your help during that time. And we will thank you for making all this and more possible.

President George H.W. Bush and Barabara Bush with kids cutting the ribbon at Children's Inn opening

President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush at The Inn’s ribbon cutting in 1990

  • As The Inn’s getting older, we have had a needed a facelift. After many years of renovation of our roof and façade, we’re finally nearing completion of this important project. Construction crews stay entirely separate from our families as they work to exchange our dark wood shingles for beige siding and replace windows and doors. How do you like our new look?

We’re grateful for you, and we wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy Memorial Day!

Please help us spread the word about the continuing support we need now:

Donate today

May 15, 2020

Thank you for making our moms feel cared for and appreciated this Mother’s Day. Thanks to your help, our in-house moms received special meals and gift boxes for a little extra personal care during this difficult time.

If you missed our CEO Jennie Lucca’s Mother’s Day message and could use some inspiration, here’s another chance to read how it took the love of two moms to save Emi’s life and to watch Emi and her adoptive mom’s video update on this special Mother’s Day, shown below.

We hope you also enjoyed Mother’s Day and had the chance to reach out to some of the special moms in your life!

It’s been a quiet week at The Inn. Our families are taking physical distancing very seriously, which continues to be extremely important because so many of our young people with us now are immunocompromised due to their diseases or treatments. They’re still having fun though, thanks to you!

  • Our virtual activities continue to be popular with our children and young adults. Especially wonderful was a recent cooking activity led by Danielle Cook Navidi, founder of Happily Hungry. She taught our children and young adults how to prepare a healthful, nutritious and scrumptious meal thanks to a grant from the Mead Family Foundation. See how much fun cooking was for Ujji, shown below, one of our longtime residents from Mongolia!

  • We’re super excited about some of our upcoming family activities: virtual summer concerts, a makeup tutorial with one of our former residents and glow-in-the-dark mini golf, among others. We cannot wait to tell you more about this soon. And it’s all made possible thanks to volunteers and supporters like you. Thank you!
  • Washington Area Toyota Dealers recently made a very generous donation to The Children’s Inn. They have been supporting The Inn for many years through their K’s for Kids program in conjunction with the Washington Nationals. We’re so grateful they continue to support us this year despite the coronavirus’ disruption of professional baseball. Watch a ‘highlights reel’ from Inn families at Washington Nationals games over the past couple of years, shown below. Thank you, Washington Area Toyota Dealers!

The weather made a sudden turn to summer-like temperatures here in Bethesda, Maryland. It’s perfect for our children and families to enjoy our outdoor playground, cooking station and soak up the May sun.

Have a safe and relaxing weekend and thank you for your continued support of our children and families. Your commitment makes a difference every day!

Here are additional ways you can help now – and please feel free to help spread the word on social media:

Donate today

May 8, 2020

At The Children’s Inn, we’re getting ready to celebrate our wonderful moms this weekend with special decorations, gift baskets and celebratory meals. It’s a small but also highly important gesture of support as our moms are going through the most difficult times of their lives.

All of the children with us now have extremely difficult-to-treat diseases. Despite participating in the most promising clinical trials, treatments remain experimental, and the outcome is not always known.

Your support of The Children’s Inn is especially meaningful this Mother’s Day when the pandemic is complicating our moms’ lives even more. Thank you for keeping our moms in your thoughts this Mother’s Day!

This week, we’ve had some very exciting things happen at The Inn:

  • On Tuesday, first lady Melania Trump sent the White House executive chef, pastry chef and several ushers to hand deliver 150 specially prepared meals to The Children’s Inn. The mac-and-cheese lunches, served with fruits and cookies, helped express the first lady’s and the president’s support of our families and appreciation for our hard-working staff. View media coverage in Newsweek and The Hill.

  • Also on Tuesday, we participated in the first #GivingTuesdayNow – a day of giving outside of the traditional #GivingTuesday held the day after Cyber Monday. Thanks to all of you who made gifts of support to The Inn. Your kindness is our guiding star during these dark days and will help lead our families and all of us at The Inn to brighter days ahead. Thank you! Watch a brief tour of The Inn to see how we’re helping keep our families safe during the outbreak.

  • This week, celebrity chef José Andrés made a special promise to a very special little girl. Pierina, 11, from Peru, who met the famous chef as he delivered another round of World Central Kitchen-prepared meals to The Inn, told Andrés she missed her home country and its food. The chef immediately asked Pierina for her favorite meal. When she responded with Peruvian-style chicken and rice, he promised to have one of his cooks prepare the meal for her. To wish Pierina well in her impending treatment, he hand-delivered chicken and rice from his famous Peruvian-Asian fusion restaurant China Chilcano for her and all Inn residents. Watch a video of their sweet interaction.

  • The kind folks at Arts-n-STEM4Hearts recently raised funds to purchase 100 cloth face masks for the children and families at The Inn as well as Mother’s Day card kits. Amber Briscoe, founder and president of Arts-n-STEM4Hearts, also donated two canvas paintings created by her. The Children’s Inn is grateful for these thoughtful gifts that help make The Inn a safer and more joyful place during this disconcerting time!

Thank you for being part of our mission and supporting our community!

If you want to do more to help our children, families and young people, please consider these options:

Donate today

May 1, 2020

If April showers bring May flowers, moms will be in for a treat this Mother’s Day. And they should be! With your support, our staff is already hard at work to make this Mother’s Day special for the moms staying at The Inn through the pandemic.

Look out for a special Mother’s Day message and photos to come soon. A big thanks to all of you who are helping us honor our wonderful moms!

Here are some highlights from the past week at The Inn:

  • What’s it like to be a mom of seriously ill children staying at the Inn right now? Washington Post Columnist Theresa Vargas wrote a wonderful column about a mom – and dad – from Sweden who surmounted every hurdle in their way to travel to The Children’s Inn in the nick of time. Their three children all have a rare genetic disease and are participating in a groundbreaking NIH gene therapy trial that is the best chance to save their lives. Read their story and watch a video recorded by the parents to remind us how staying home helps protect children like theirs.

  • Also this week, WUSA9 interviewed Children’s Inn CEO Jennie Lucca and Resident Services Operations Manager Stephanie Feinberg about how The Children’s Inn is coping during the pandemic.
  • Like you, our corporate supporters are incredibly important sustainers of The Inn. In an article published by FedHealthIT, our CEO Jennie Lucca thanked our corporate supporters for all they do. We greatly appreciate the sponsors of An Evening for Hope gala who turned their sponsorships into donations when we had to cancel the event due to the pandemic. These generous contributions help us provide for our families every day.
  • Thanks for making our first virtual auction a resounding success. You helped raise an incredible $151,000! Your generosity is a strong testament to how much you care about the children and young people whose best hope is an NIH clinical trial.
  • Next week, The Children’s Inn’s programming staff will launch exciting virtual activities specifically for our young adults.

We’re incredibly grateful for your dedicated support of The Children’s Inn. Thank you for answering our calls for support, continuously creating cloth masks, bidding on our auction items and making sure our children, their families and our young adults have everything they need to make it through this challenging time.

If you can, here are some impactful ways to help now:

Donate today

April 28, 2020

We’ve made it through another week of staying home and physical distancing! Our onsite team continues to do everything possible to ensure the safety, comfort and mental well-being of the families we are supporting at The Inn.

We are offering virtual programs like Bingo and magic shows, creating personalized craft kits and ensuring families have the supplies and support they need.

Meanwhile, Children’s Inn families have found new ways to enjoy spring. Here are some examples of how your donations are supporting our families during this unusual and difficult time:

  • One of our young adults, a high school senior recovering from a bone marrow transplant, loves watching birds and asked whether we could install a bird feeder in front of her window. Your donations made it possible. After the young person left The Inn to return home, another family immediately asked for the bird feeder to be moved to their window. Due to unanticipated popular demand, we have since ordered and installed several additional bird feeders that are bringing joy to our children, families and young adults throughout The Inn. Thank you!

  • As you may have experienced yourselves, it’s not easy to schedule food deliveries due to limited availability. When we couldn’t find a time slot for a delivery to The Inn recently, we instead chose to send a large order to our resident services manager’s home. She hand-delivered the groceries to The Inn, where our staff sorted and disinfected every item. Knowing they can count on you and us to provide them with everything they need gives our families precious peace of mind. We are currently accepting gift card donations to Peapod and Instacart to help fulfill our family’s orders.

Toiletries, after being sanitized, being sorted for Inn residents

  • We love the beautiful, colorful cloth face masks several of you have sewn with love at home to help keep our children and families safe. Thank you! Please help keep them coming.

Thank you for brightening these times for children and young people with serious diseases whose best hope is an NIH clinical trial.

Have a good week, and please stay healthy!

Here are some more ways you can make a difference:

Donate today

April 17, 2020

We’re excited to share some happy news made possible thanks to your support of The Children’s Inn during these difficult times:

  • To date, the protective measures we’ve put in place have been able to keep all of our families and staff safe from coronavirus. We appreciate your donations of masks and hand sanitizer. Thank you for helping protect The Children’s Inn families!
  • Our families are enjoying the meals from your donations to our Feeding Families program, and local restaurants are providing meals at a special discount. Not having to cook makes our families’ lives so much easier and allows them to fully focus on the well-being of their children.
  • As of Monday, April 13, Children’s Inn residents have been able to count on another supporter to help keep them fed: Celebrity Chef José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen have been bringing nutritious and delicious meals to feed our families breakfast and dinner. The meals are prepared at the Nationals Stadium, where World Central Kitchen is cooking for thousands of Washington-area residents every day. The famous chef personally delivered meals to The Inn on Monday. We’re still star-struck.
  • Grocery deliveries and stocked community pantries continue to put a smile on families’ faces. Thank you for helping make sure our families have everything they need!
  • And finally … a big thanks for making sure the Easter Bunny had an Easter basket for every child, parent and young adult staying at The Inn. Easter egg hunts took place one child at a time to maintain social distancing, and every one of our residents had a fun and memorable Easter.

Your kind support of The Inn makes children smile every day and leaves a legacy of hope at The Children’s Inn, especially during these dark times.

Thank you!

P.S. If you’re looking to do more, please consider helping in one of these ways:

Donate today

April 10, 2020

The children and families at The Inn sincerely appreciate your continued support during this time of crisis.

Your efforts truly make a difference – staying at home, wearing face masks, washing hands after you venture out and practicing physical distancing all help to keep infection rates down and protect our highly vulnerable children and their families.

The Inn is so grateful for the recent outpouring of support including contributions, gift cards, hand sanitizer, face masks and non-perishable foods.

Thanks to your timely assistance, now our children and families:

  • Enjoy nourishing meals every day of the week, including Fridays and Saturdays
  • Receive all the groceries they need via safe deliveries, and Inn staff carefully wipe down every item
  • Wear cloth masks you made for their protection
  • Participate in engaging virtual family activities and follow along using personal activity kits
  • Select items such as books, games, Lego sets, snack bags around-the-clock from our lobby resource table
  • Choose non-perishable foods from our community pantries

Because of your kindness, Inn residents, whose participation in NIH clinical research studies cannot wait, know they are safe and cared for especially during these challenging times.

Thank you for making wonderful things happen at The Inn and for keeping Inn children in mind as they access the medical care they so desperately need.

Here are a few of the most helpful ways you can make an immediate difference for families with seriously ill children:

Donate today

March 27, 2020

During these most challenging times, The Children’s Inn continues to provide a supportive “place like home” for seriously ill children and their families.

Our young residents’ well-being depends on the treatments they receive at the NIH – and families know they can depend on The Inn for accommodations, hot meals and so much more.

“Our families’ safety always comes first,” shares Jennie Lucca, CEO of The Children’s Inn. “The children and young adults who stay with us are participating in groundbreaking clinical research studies for their life-threatening conditions. Many are separated from loved ones at home and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic greatly increases everyone’s worries.”

Until further notice, we have significantly modified the way we provide services. The Inn has implemented the following safety measures and changes:

  • Suspended all visitors, including volunteers.
  • Mandated a health screening for every person before entering the building.
  • Limited on-site staff to essential employees in resident services and family programming.
  • Shifted family programs to take place via social media. Please see The Inn’s March family activities calendar.
  • Canceled our largest annual fundraiser, An Evening for Hope, set for April 25, 2020. However, we are planning to host an auction virtually. Stay tuned for more updates.

Here are the most impactful ways you can make an immediate difference for families with seriously ill children whose treatments cannot wait:

Donate today

The Children’s Inn’s need for community support has been highlighted in recent stories by WTOP, WJLA and The Washington Post.

Thank you for giving our children and families “a place like home” during these stressful and uncertain days.

To stay updated on COVID-19, visit the NIH website for the latest details.

March 13, 2020

The health and safety of our Children’s Inn family is always our top priority. As COVID-19 expands in communities around the world, The Children’s Inn at NIH is taking measures to help keep the children and families we serve safe.

This is especially important since families staying at The Inn are faced with serious health issues such as cancer, genetic immune deficiencies and other rare diseases that place the children at a greater risk for becoming extremely ill.

In an effort to help keep our families safe, The Children’s Inn has temporarily:

  • Stopped visitor access
  • Implemented symptoms screening protocols for anyone entering the building
  • Suspended all volunteer activities and scheduled tours
  • Suspended staff travel to external trainings and large gatherings
  • Enhanced cleaning standards

The Children’s Inn will continue to carefully evaluate conditions based on guidance from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and adjust policies and procedures as recommended. Please check this website for updates or stay informed by signing up for our email notifications. You may also visit the NIH’s Coronavirus page for additional information.

The Children’s Inn needs your help! Meals provide comfort and support to our families. While volunteer groups are temporarily suspended from providing meals for safety reasons, your support of our Feeding Families Program can make all the difference. Your financial contribution will help cover the costs of providing meals and show our families how much you care. Thank you!

Together, we can navigate these uncertain times so Inn residents will receive the support they so greatly need. Thank you for your dedication to the brave families we serve.

– Your Children’s Inn Team

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