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Utah couple who lost sons opens home for grieving families

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 13, 2017 at 10:39 p.m.

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AMERICAN FORK (AP) — A couple in American Fork is offering grieving families a place to get support.

Lance and Nancy Boldt are renting a 110-year-old home in American Fork that provides peer-to-peer support groups a place to hold meetings to help participants manage grief, The Daily Herald reported.

Joshy's House of Hope opened in September and is named in memory of the Boldts' son, Joshua, a 15-year-old with Down syndrome who died 10 years ago after a battle with acute myeloid leukemia. In 2008, the couple also lost their 12-year-old son, Ben, who had Down syndrome and autism. The boy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia eight weeks after Joshua died.

Nancy Boldt said she decided to rent the home to create a support system for families of children with cancer after her children got sick.

The Boldts first got connected with the group Canary Garden, which helps support children who have lost loved ones. The Boldt's daughter, Sadie, was 3 when her teen brother died.

The peer-to-peer support group has helped the entire family process the boys' deaths.

"That was the best thing that could have ever happened for our family, I think, seeing that other families are struggling, too," Nancy Boldt said.

Aaron Boldt, Josh's brother and the program director at Joshy's House of Hope, said he also benefited from the support group.

"Individual therapy didn't work for me as far as grief goes," he said. "Peer-to-peer support was probably the best option for me. My peers had been through something similar and I had something to relate to. You don't feel as alone or singled out."

Jeremy Hoop lost his 11-year-old son, Noah, three years ago. To keep Noah's memory alive, Hoop shares his stories with a support group at Joshy's House of Hope.

"When you lose something that profound, you're in the middle of a dark pit, very far down, and you need people who can climb down in there with you," Hoop said.

Opening the American Fork home allowed the Boldts to help grow the Canary Garden group, and other groups have since joined the home. Forget Me Not, which helps people who have lost loved ones to suicide, also meets at the residence. There are plans to add a group for LGBT support and another to help people with anxiety and depression.

The home offers the programs at no cost and operates off donations and grants. It has a small budget mainly made up of rent and utilities for the facility.

Contributing: Ashley Moser


Information from: The Daily Herald,

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