Alan Wong, MD
“JW changed me in terms of understanding giving, understanding friendship. I’ve met so many people through JW House, and I’ve never had so much fun in my life.”
Dr. Wong had forgotten the brief conversation he had with his young patient, Jan-Willem Knapen, about the need for a place where parents from out of town could stay while their children with cancer are treated in the hospital. But JW didn’t forget: in May 2004, he returned to Dr. Wong’s office with a check for $10,000 he had raised for “Our Dream Project.” For the remaining 14 months of his life, while undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for an inoperable brain tumor, JW pursued the dream, and so did Dr. Wong.
“A 14-year-old boy who was dying, thought not about himself, but about giving to others. How can I not be changed by that experience?” says Dr. Wong. “I’ve become a better person. Before, when I wasn’t working, I used to play golf and do other things. Now, I focus on JW House.”
Dr. Wong, JW’s mother and numerous members of the KP community and the community-at-large have kept the dream alive. By March 2007, with $1.5 million raised and Kaiser Permanente agreeing to lease the land for $1.00 a month, the groundbreaking took place for JW House, which will include four studio apartments, a communal dining room, a family room and garden.
Since then, Dr. Wong has been busy supervising construction while continuing to raise funds for the furnishings and landscaping. JW House is expected to open in mid-2008 to provide a home away from home for families – just as JW and Dr. Wong envisioned.