Rotary House at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Celebrating Birthday

The Rotary House at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is celebrating a birthday next month, by taking note of the huge number of people who've stayed there since it opened in the early 90s. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell explains.

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The Jesse Jones Rotary House is a hotel for M.D. Anderson outpatients and their families. It opened in February of 1993, in a public-private partnership between the University of Texas, which owns the cancer center, Houston Endowment and Rotary International. Rotarian Jack Wells says the Rotary House is a home away from home for cancer patients from out of town.

"There's an aerial bridge, air conditioned, a beautiful thing, and it allows both the patients as well as the medical staff to travel back and forth for consultations, for treatments, for so many other things. It's a magnificent convenience."

The Rotary House originally had about 200 rooms, but the demand was so great it was expanded to 322 rooms a few years ago. Wells says it's different from a commercial hotel because it was built with hospital patients in mind.

"Normally hallways are five or six feet, but they realized that there are going to be a lot of people using wheelchairs in this hotel, people who don't normally use wheelchairs, so the hallways are seven feet. They have some color schemes that help people to maintain their appetite, if you will, a thing that you lose during cancer treatment apparently."

The Rotary House at M.D. Anderson has had two hundred thousand visits since it opened and Wells says the demand never stops. To celebrate its 14th anniversary, and those 200,000 visits, a photographic exhibit telling the story of the Jesse Jones Rotary House will be be dedicated this evening. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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