Family Discovers Hope, Support, and Solace at Family House during Darkest Days

Life for the Filer family shifted dramatically when husband and father Mark Filer’s battle with skin cancer took a tragic turn. Family House, and its community, were there for support.

3 minute read

PITTSBURGH, PA (July 8) In April 2022, Beth Filer’s life took an unexpected and devastating turn. Her beloved husband, Mark, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a severe form of skin cancer. Over the next five months, Beth’s world revolved around Mark’s care, hospital visits, and treatments. Despite the relentless chemo and immunotherapy, the Filer family’s lives were upended when Mark was admitted to Butler Hospital with breathing difficulties.

The situation rapidly worsened, as Mark faced additional complications: COVID-19, pneumonia, and dangerously low oxygen levels. His condition necessitated a transfer to UPMC Shadyside Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. As Mark’s health declined, Beth was caught in a whirlwind of exhaustion, shuttling between hospitals and home.

Amid this turmoil, Beth’s sister, Mary Jo Palmer, introduced her to Family House. From the moment Beth arrived at Family House, she felt a sense of relief. Family House was not just a place to stay; it was a home away from home.

For Mark, knowing that Beth had a secure place nearby provided comfort amidst his struggles. The burden of constant travel was lifted, and Beth could focus on supporting Mark without worrying about long commutes.

Family House offered more than just accommodation. Its homelike setting, communal kitchen, dining areas, and the warm support of staff and volunteers created a nurturing environment for Beth and her family. The sense of community, where stories and support were shared, provided Beth with reassurance and strength. It was a sanctuary, offering not just a roof over her head in a time of need, but also a network of fellow travelers facing similar medical battles.

Tragically, Mark passed away on November 26, 2022. His death left an immense void in Beth’s life. Despite her grief, the support she received from Family House and the families she met there helped her navigate through her darkest days. The companionship and understanding she found within Family House’s walls reminded her that she was not alone in her sorrow.

Beth reflects on her time at Family House with profound gratitude. “The organization provided our family with hope and healing,” says Filer. “It was a testament to the power of community and support during our medical crisis.”

Beth now urges others to support Family House, emphasizing its role in offering safe, affordable, and comforting spaces for families during tough times. She believes that, together, people can make a significant difference—one heart, one home at a time. Through her story, Beth hopes to inspire others to contribute to this vital organization.

About Family House

Family House, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that provides a special “home away from home” for patients and their families who are in Pittsburgh seeking medical treatment. Governed by a community Board of Directors, Family House offers convenient, affordable housing to reduce the emotional and financial stress for people facing a medical crisis in a city where they may be strangers.

To learn more about the organization and how to get involved go to