Guest Spotlight - Jim Hanerfeld & Yvonne Crawford

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Guest Spotlight:  Jim Hanerfeld & Yvonne Crawford

In 2014, Jim was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina.  Referred to UNC Hospitals for chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he and his life partner, Yvonne, stayed in various Chapel Hill hotels since their home is nearly 2-1/2 hours away. A year later, with his head and neck cancer in remission, Jim was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma.  It was at this time that a hospital case manager told them about our hospitality house.

Since 2015, Jim and Yvonne had been regular guests here, seeing us through some significant growing pains and consequent expansion. This past September, Jim was diagnosed with septum and sinus cancer, after initially being diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a common facial syndrome. Yvonne and Jim were staying here again so Jim could undergo immunotherapy and chemotherapy, with hopes of shrinking the mass.

As with many of the guests who’ve been staying at Family House over the years, Jim and Yvonne had a unique perspective and history of what it means to stay here.  Early on, Yvonne joined a Facebook group connecting with several folks; sharing that if you need a place to stay while getting treatment at UNC Hospitals, Family House would be their “home away from home.”  She went on to tell us that staying here has been a “lifeline” for her.  “It’s like coming to see your therapist.  Everyone is going through something here.

As for Jim, he shared that he had made life-long friends here.  “When I’m sick, I’m a pain, yet people still talk to me like I’m a person.”  Having a loving and supportive partner in Yvonne at his side also helped him get through one medical crisis after another – this despite Yvonne having her own medical ordeals.

Sadly, Jim passed away last month after a long, fought battle and several rounds of treatment.  Yvonne wanted his story shared - to let folks know that Family House was a true “refuge” for them and that “all of our doctors are at UNC Hospitals because of the excellent care.”  While Jim and Yvonne were looking forward to returning to live concerts, we have a feeling that Jim is hearing the music loud and clear.


  1. Gary Parisi's avatar
    Gary Parisi
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    Met Jim at Yvonne and my 50th high school reunion. Truly a nice guy who loved her and still does very much. They are a perfect couple.

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