The Casa Sagrada Familia Foundation, dedicated to children affected by cancer, was founded in January 2001 in order to accommodate children from all regions of Chile who receive cancer treatment at the Luis Calvo Mackenna children's hospital, allowing them to experience this difficult process in the company of their mothers and guaranteeing them accommodation, food, spiritual and emotional support as well as advice regarding the special care they need.
In addition, they are helped in managing a very extreme situation by offering them protection, food and teaching on the care that a patient should receive within the family.
The Foundation building can accommodate about thirty children with their mothers.
One of the floors is completely adapted to allow children to receive the right attention after bone marrow transplantation, observing maximum conditions of isolation and strict hygiene and food control, in order to minimise the risk of infection and rejection.
The main difficulty for the young patients, once the illness had been overcome, was to be able to return to their home cities because of the precarious conditions of many of the homes from which they came.
The programme funded by Reale Foundation, called “Volver a casa” i.e. “Returning home”, provided a professional figure able to act as an intermediary between the institutions and the families of the children in the structure, finding suitable accommodation to receive the children returning from the cancer treatment when their homes of origin were in inadequate sanitary conditions. It should be noted that children subjected to bone marrow transplant are immunosuppressed and exposed to all possible infections.
Of the 24 families present at the beginning of the collaboration with the Casa Sagrada Familia, in a year from the beginning of the project, 12 families have received a new home or have seen their own renovated, allowing them to return to their home cities.
Furthermore, the programme has recently received recognition from the Ministry of Infrastructure which has included it in an official coordination plan between the Foundation and the bodies responsible for public housing.