Samantha Miller, 19, has spent her last four birthdays in treatment at the Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda for a rare, severe form of aplastic anemia, a blood disorder.
She's one of dozens of patients and their families who stay at the Inn periodically for free while coming in to undergo treatment for unusual illnesses.
“I'm happy with how I am doing now,” Samantha says. “To have some sort of quality of life back.”
The Inn provides "a place like home," while families go through a difficult point in their lives. It provides them a sense of normalcy.
Families have 24/7 access to a kitchen and eating area, a game room, play room and meditation room - all free of charge thanks to generous donors.
Kathy Russell, CEO of the Children's Inn, says the comforts of home are a tremendous help to each family.
“To be part of that journey, to hold their hand, to help direct them to resources, to be there for them during this difficult time, is just a remarkable journey,” Russell says.
And Samantha has been on one of those journeys. She’s doing a lot better now. But at one point, she couldn’t walk and would sit on a couch all day, she says.
But Samantha says being at the Inn makes her feel like a hero.
“If I can help somebody, if I can go through all this bad experience now and make it easier on someone else later, I would totally have that,” she says.