Facing cancer is hard, and having to travel out of town for treatment can make it even harder. The American Cancer Society has a place where cancer patients can find help and hope when home is far away – an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge.
Each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free, temporary place to stay during treatment. Located near major treatment centers in 28 locations across the nation, Hope Lodge relieves the financial worry for cancer patients about where to stay or how to pay for lodging.
“It’s like a hotel where patients and their caregivers get to stay for free,” said Roberta Cahill, Yankton Sioux member and health promotions manager with the American Cancer Society in South Dakota. “It takes away some of the financial worry of getting treated for cancer so the patient can focus on what’s most important – getting well.”
“Going through cancer treatment is hard enough. Finding and paying for a place to stay should be the last thing cancer patients have to worry about.”
Hope Lodge offers another important benefit – emotional support. Hope Lodge is a family-style atmosphere; a warm and caring place where patients can connect with others going through treatment. They can receive emotional support from others who are going through many of the same experiences they are.
“We have served people from many different cultures at the Hope Lodge,” said Abbie Yoder, assistant manager of the new Hope Lodge in Iowa City. “Recently a Native American man stayed here. He was one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. He had a way of lifting everyone’s spirits and making everyone laugh, and even though he couldn’t speak fully due to a hearing impairment, he could communicate the love and compassion he had for the other survivors.”
At Hope Lodge, patients and their caregivers have their own private guest room, but there are also large community rooms where patients can connect with others. Each lodge has a full kitchen, cancer resource rooms, laundry facilities and areas for quiet reflection.
Hope Lodge also offers a variety of resources about cancer and how best to fight the disease. There is access to the American Cancer Society’s free call center and Web site, as well as a comprehensive on-site library designed to help patients and caregivers make informed decisions.
Hope Lodge also helps patients stay in touch with their families during treatment. Guests are given access to a personal Web site which helps them communicate with family and friends during and after their stay. Each guest’s site features a photo album, visitor guest book and e-mail tool.
“We know that it’s very hard to be away from your loved ones for so long, so it’s a great way to stay connected,” Cahill said.
In order to qualify to stay at a lodge, the patient must live at least 40 miles or a one-hour drive away from the treatment center, but patients are not screened for financial or demographic criteria.
“Going through cancer treatment is hard enough,” Cahill said. “Finding and paying for a place to stay should be the last thing cancer patients have to worry about.”
To learn more about the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodges, visit www.cancer.org/hopelodge or call the American Cancer Society 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (800) ACS-2345.
Editor’s Note: The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. For cancer information anytime, call (800) 227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. For information about this article, contact Charlotte Hofer, American Cancer Society at email@example.com.