Guest Spotlight: A Major Milestone Celebration

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Tonya and FamilyFormer guest Tonya Williams is no stranger to our Guest Kitchen. In 2008 she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Charlotte, North Carolina. When those treatments failed, Tonya was referred to UNC Health and received a stem cell transplant. She spent a month in their care before staying at SECU Family House for six months more.


Fast forward a decade to Tonya's 10-year anniversary of being cancer free. She tells us that there were a lot of things she could have done to celebrate this major milestone but she wanted to be around people who are on the same journey that she was on ten years ago. So Tonya and two of her three adult children, Justin and Ashley, prepared a celebratory dinner for Family House guests that included broccoli fettucine, baked ziti, green beans, garlic bread, tossed salad, lemonade, and of course, cookies and cake. It was quite the festive meal for everyone and a celebration that we were so moved to be a part of!

DinnerTonya shares that you have to enjoy every day and to not let life overwhelm you. Even when she was going through months of grueling cancer treatments while staying here, she describes Family House as a place where she could “feel safe and welcome because she was surrounded by a lot of people going through the same thing while being away from home. This place will always be important to me.”

We wish Tonya all the very best and many more cancer free anniversaries as we all look forward to having family meals again in our soon-to-be-completly-renovated kitchen–the heart of every home.


Photographed here (L to R): Justin, Tonya, and Ashley


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