Finding Our Home Away from Home

Tom Van Meer and his wife Peggy came to UAMS in Little Rock in 2016 after discovering cancer in Tom’s back. Tom was 63 with severe pain in his back. Their first week in Little Rock was spent in countless hours of testing. Eventually, the results showed that Tom had Multiple Myeloma and treatment would start two days later and last for several weeks.

Tom said that it was like a deer caught in the headlights as they quickly had to figure out where to stay for the coming weeks while he began chemotherapy. UAMS provided a list of options in Little Rock. The Van Meers went with the closest option to the hospital, an extended stay hotel.  

After eight days in the hotel, the chemo treatment was making it difficult to be comfortable in the hotel.  With nearby extended stay rooms cooking frequently one of the hardest parts was the constant nausea from smells.  Tom looked through the Multiple Myeloma list at other options.  He said our name stood out to him and he called Kim to learn more.  By that afternoon the Van Meers were moving into a 2 bedroom fully furnished apartment at the Palisades in Chenal Valley. 

“The apartment felt comfortable and like home, it was important that it didn’t feel like a medical stay so that I could come home to a place that didn’t feel like a hospital,” Tom explained. 

Walking into their home away from home was instantly a breath of fresh air emotionally and physically.  Everything they needed was there.  Tom’s wife, Peggy, came to care for him throughout their stay in Little Rock.

During Christmas, Tom was in the hospital and not doing well. Our staff and volunteers brought Christmas to Peggy. We came to decorate their apartment and prayed with her during this difficult time. “It was wonderful,” Peggy remembers. “Kim would make us feel like we were at home and that we had the support we needed.  There are not enough words to express our gratitude for Goodness Village and all that they do for us and everyone that comes to Little Rock.”

Since May 2020 Tom is in stringent complete remission which means no cancer and all his cells are perfectly normal.