Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A fundraising campaign has just started to raise money to build another  “home away from home" in Rochester.

The Hand in Hand campaign is seeking donations to build Cy’s Place, a $14 million complex that will be the first pediatric transplant hospitality facility in Minnesota.

The complex will consist of one and two bedroom apartments that will accommodate up to 20 families while they are in Rochester for treatment. The complex will be located on 9 acres of wooded property near the Cinemagic Theater in northwest Rochester.

The idea for the project came from a North Dakota couple whose son Silas (Cy) was a Mayo Clinic cancer patient who died at the age of three.

Here is more information about the fundraising campaign and project:

The Journey Began with a Courageous Little Boy

rendering for Cy's Place

Cy’s Place is named after Silas (“Cy” Erickson), the son of Randy and Ree Erickson, an amazing little boy who courageously and heroically battled cancer and passed away at age three in 2007. When Silas, became sick with cancer, the Erickson’s began walking down an unfamiliar road that filled them with enormous pain that left them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted.

During Silas’ heroic battle with cancer, Randy and Ree had to leave their home and jobs in Williston, North Dakota, and spend much of the next eleven months in Rochester, Minnesota where Silas underwent extensive treatment at Mayo Clinic.

In the midst of the chaos and months of treatment, the Erickson’s learned so much. They became familiar with the ins-and-outs of Mayo Clinic—navigating the buildings where treatment, testing, and appointments took place—they learned what it feels like to sit in the hospital and watch as their child struggled for months and months.  They got to know the kinds of help that families with a child in long-term treatment need and the kinds of needs that often go unmet. The Erickson’s experienced firsthand what it was like to need an affordable place to stay for an extended period of time.

Through the great pain and loss, the Erickson’s could sense that they were not alone and felt God’s presence and love was ever present and all around.“Through the kindness of others, many of our needs were bountifully addressed and even though there was great pain and sadness, we experienced great light and hope,” said Randy Erickson.

Reflecting back on all of the different people that stepped forward to help, the Erickson’s found a calling was placed deep in their hearts with a desire to help other children and families facing similar medical situations. In late 2011, the Erickson’s moved to Rochester where they found a walk out house that they could renovated into a guest apartment and Cy’s Place received it’s nonprofit status and began operation in early 2013. They’ve been welcoming families from all over the world and say referrals mostly come from word of mouth, churches and communities of faith.

Families with Children Facing Transplants Have Many Needs

For parents whose children are undergoing transplantation it often means uprooting everything; jobs and families as the average stay with a transplant is 100 days or more. Once in the community there are a lot of restrictions on what transplant patients can eat and the environment that is most ideal for them to recover and heal.

“When a child needs a transplant it often involves the entire family,” said Cy’s Place Board Member, Shakila Khan, M.D., Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant, Mayo Clinic. “Many patients stay in hotels, rent apartments or find other hospitality houses, but in general these are not geared for the specific needs of transplant children or their families. I can’t tell you how valuable Cy’s Place will be to the entire transplant community.”

Abundant Blessings Big and Small

The Erickson’s a couple of deep faith and belief, see Cy’s Place as a journey built on God’s provision, grace and love. “It’s really an overwhelming sense of joy that we could be a part of this big plan,” said Randy Erickson. “We know the plan probably started way before we even came here, that God had this in mind and sent us here for some reason with a little boy that would change our hearts forever.”

Along the way the Erickson’s have encountered God’s hand through the donation of the land, the amazing physician and provider support, board members and a host of community volunteers that have all stepped forward to help. Donations also began trickling in from near and far that seem to show up just when needed most. “We’re just two people. You can’t do much alone. Over the years we’ve continued to pray that God would bring people along the way that would help us with Cy’s Place,” said Ree Erickson. “ It’s just been one example after another of people coming forward, being gracious of their time, talent and treasure. Truly God’s hand is at work.”

As the wider community pulls together to make Cy’s Place a reality, organizers hope the end result will be a place where sick children and their families will have a place to stay and a network of love and support wrapped around them.  “Over and over we are asked to provide hospitality, and to love each other. That’s the overall theme, and I think it paves the way for us to speak into people’s lives at a time when they desperately need hope,” said Ree Erickson. “When you are struggling through difficult times, people want to know if someone cares. Cy’s Place is an opportunity to love and provide light during the most difficult and dark days of someone life,” said Randy Erickson.

About Cy’s Place

Cy’s Place seeks to be God’s hands and feet and to minister to families in need. The vision for Cy’s Place is to provide a welcoming and affordable accommodation and support services for children and their families who are undergoing transplant treatment in Rochester, Minnesota. For more information, please visit cy's place.

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