Posted at: 08/29/2013 5:59 PM
By: Abigail Bleck
ALBANY - An organization that has helped thousands of sick people over the years now needs your help. The Damien Center lost almost everything in an early morning fire on Thursday.
The director of the Damien Center says they couldn't do what they do if it weren't for donations, and that was before Thursday's fire.
The fire that began in the basement of the Damien Center burned so hot that floors above the furniture was ruined, office equipment melted, and fixtures are now unrecognizable.
Even though the flames were contained to the first floor, smoke water and heat rendered all of the South Lake Avenue building unusable. “We will be back we will be back fast and we will get these services going again because I believe in what we do,” says Perry Junjulas of The Damien Center.
Since her diagnosis ten years ago, Janice Nelson has traveled to the Damien Center from Schoharie County.
Here, Nelson, and hundreds of others receive the financial, medical and emotional help needed to live a healthy and full life, despite the virus.
“Just to come out and get support from people who deal with what I deal with on a daily basis and get some educational peace out of it as well…just warm caring people,” said Nelson.
The Damien Center assists some 400 people.
In December the mortgage was paid off and next month would have marked 15 years at the location near Albany’s Washington Park.
The fire, which isn't suspicious and is likely electrical in nature, means the Center will have to relocate, at least temporarily.
“This has been their home base when they come out of the hospital and they have good news, when they have bad news, they show up for support and the love we provide,” says Junjulas the one constant -- for those whose lives can be in flux -- now also faces an unknown future.
“It is a daily struggle for them financially, emotionally, physically,” said Nelson.
For the rest of this week and next week, the for the rest of this week and next week, the Damien Center will operate out of the First Lutheran Church at 181 Western Ave. It's right around the corner from the current Center.
If you'd like to help the Damien Center get back on its feet, you can click here.