Their mission is simple. Chapel Hill House exists to provide a place for pediatric cancer families to visit, without cost, for a weekend together away from busy schedules and treatments. It is a place for the healing powers of serenity, relaxation, and family time to take effect. This amazing place- Chapel Hill House, exists just outside of Morral, Ohio, with the Little Sandusky River running through it.
The dream behind this mission began with Larry and Annie Joseph. In 2001 Larry himself was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.
After various treatments and surgeries, in 2003, Larry decided he wanted to do something for children with cancer. Chapel Hill House originated from Larry Joseph’s love of nature, as well a retirement dream the Josephs had of owning a log home that had to transform with Larry’s illness.
First, they found an 1835 two-story log home in southeastern Ohio, near Caldwell. It looked in pretty bad shape, but Larry, a thirty-year high school art teacher, saw beyond the issues. They moved it to Marion County and began a year-long renovation. The renovation included adding heating, air-conditioning, and plumbing, and is ADA-complaint, so families are not roughing it during their stay. It is amazing to think the rundown log home could become this cozy retreat for families to relax and regain their energy to continue through their battles against cancer.
On July 23, 2003, the first family was welcomed onto the site. Larry got to see his dream of creating this getaway become a reality before losing his battle to colon cancer in 2005. The family retreat is free of charge to these families that have to deal with so much else in their lives. Not only is it free of charge, but each family has the entire site to themselves for their period of stay.
Also located on the 36-acre site are an antique schoolhouse, a shelter house, a three-level treehouse, and woods. There are over 200 books available to read as families relax and crafts to be creative. No electronic games are not provided but they can be brought if a family wishes. But as Annie Joseph shared in their video, “The idea is to step back in time; to enjoy what it used to be like, and to spend time with mom and dad in a healthy environment.”
Today, Chapel Hill House is a not-for-profit organization that is funded completely by donations, contributions, and grants. Most of the functions are done by volunteers, dedicated to keeping this amazing place there for those that need it. It is supported by many in the Marion County area that host fundraisers, like poker runs and help with the building and upkeep. It is a project that shows the humanity of people who live, work, play, and learn in Marion County.
Since its beginning, Chapel Hill House has welcomed an average of thirty-six families each year from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and other surrounding areas. It has been open between May through November. With the pandemic this year they are currently not open. They value the immune systems of the families and want to ensure that a visit is safe, secure, and without additional risk. They are continually evaluating the situation and as soon as they are able they will re-open their doors and arms to welcome the return of their guests.
At Chapel Hill House they have a sign that sums it all up. It says- “Don’t count the days. Make the days count.” That is what Chapel Hill House does. To learn more about Chapel Hill House, visit their website at chapelhillhouse.org. Thank Chapel Hill House for bringing such peace to these families. That is why you are MarionMade!.