On April 27, 2001, things changed. Larry and Annie Joseph of Prospect, Ohio, had been in the process of building their retirement getaway when Larry was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. Shortly before his diagnosis, the couple happened upon a plot of land in central Ohio that caught Larry’s attention. Immediately taken by the rolling hills, dense woods, and stream that worked through the land, the Kentucky native felt right at home. During the process of purchasing the land, Larry and Annie found a cabin in Caldwell, Ohio that they planned to relocate to this new piece of land. As part of the mortgage process, Larry underwent a complete physical and the aforementioned doctor’s appointment that changed his life. Conversations quickly went from renovations and retirement plans to surgeries, treatments, chemotherapy, and the hope for remission.
Larry was a high school teacher for almost 30 years. His passion was woodworking, woodworking tools, and furniture building techniques from the 18th and 19th centuries. As he navigated the difficulties of his cancer battle, Larry realized the true purpose of their retirement project. Larry and Annie decided to build a place where children who were going through cancer treatments could spend time with their families and escape from the hectic, appointment-filled schedules and the treatments that were depriving them of the joys of family time and the simplicity of just being a kid.
With confident hearts, Larry and Annie began their mission. Their plan went as follows: relocate the cabin, secure a contractor to aid in the additions of a new section to the cabin to include the kitchen and bathroom, finalize the contract for the land, and most importantly, connect with families who could use Chapel Hill House as their getaway. Through their research, the Josephs met the staff of Kids n’ Kamp. Kids n’ Kamp is a nonprofit organization that is committed to helping families and children who have or have had cancer and who live in the central Ohio area. Match made in heaven. Kids n’ Kamp began to offer Chapel Hill House to their families and the weekends began to book.
In and out of the hospital, rounds of treatments, surgeries and therapies, Larry spent his free time building Chapel Hill House. This was his true therapy. With a strong will and a passionate heart, Larry completed his mission of creating a space for safety, fun, hope, and love and welcomed their first family to Chapel Hill House in June of 2003. Sadly, Larry Joseph lost his three-year battle with cancer on January 5, 2005, but he was able to witness 25 families experience the joy that is Chapel Hill House. Chapel Hill House is his legacy. His passion for people and his driven spirit are present in Chapel Hill House and through the acres of land that surround it.