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Lee Davidson, Deseret News
Delegates Karen Hale, Erika George and Kristi Cumming do yardwork at Brent's Place, a home for children with cancer in Denver, as part of a day of service organized by the Democratic National Convention.

DENVER — Attending a national convention isn't just about partying, receptions and hanging out with celebrities. For Utah delegates, it is also about helping a home for cancer patients by doing some yardwork, cleaning out a shed and preparing it for a big move.

Utah's delegates to the Democratic National Convention spent Wednesday morning helping Brent's Place, a home away from home for children with cancer and their families.

People such as delegate Kurt Bestor, an internationally known composer, was climbing into the dirty attic of a shed to clean it out and rearrange things. Delegate Kristi Cumming, whose posh Park City home was visited by Barack Obama for a fundraiser last year, was busy trimming bushes and picking up trash.

Katie Keating, development associate for Brent's Place, said it was named after a boy from Colorado who had to travel to Iowa for cancer treatment — while his family stayed in college dormitories to help save money. In his memory, Brent's Place was established to help cancer families coming to Denver from far away to have a nice place to live.

Keating said it can house 11 families at a time. Most have children whose initial attempts at cancer treatments have failed, "so they are very sick when they come here." Many are bone-marrow transplant patients and stay at the home between three months and a year during a time when their immune systems are suppressed and they need ultra-clean surroundings.

Besides providing a place to live, Brent's Place also offers tutoring for children (who miss a lot of school), outings for families, and it funds some research.

"Patients come from all over the Rocky Mountain area," Keating said. The home plans to move to a new, larger location in a few months. Utah delegates helped that process by doing some organizing and packing. They also cleaned out an old shed, worked on some neglected yardwork and did some general cleaning.

It was part of a massive day of service organized by the Democratic National Convention at sites across Denver.


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