The Iowa chapter of the American Cancer Society announced today plans to build a special facility that adult cancer patients and their families can stay in for free during treatment.
Iowa Cancer Society vice president Gretchen Tegeler says the Hope Lodge will be built near the University of Iowa’s Holden Cancer Center in Iowa City. She says, “Hope Lodge provides a very unique home-like environment that offers relief from financial burdens. It allows cancer patients to focus their energy on positive things, like getting better, sharing their stories, and talking to others facing similar experiences. Basically trying to rediscover hope.”
Tegeler says the Holden Center was chosen because it’s designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. She says it specializes in many treatment options and offers clinical trials that are not available in many other communities. She says it also provides treatment for low-income patients and takes referrals from across the state.
The closest Hope Lodge to Iowa is now in Rochester, Minnesota at the Mayo Clinic. Christine Burger of West Des Moines stayed at that facility during her cancer treatment. She says,”I had my own fully furnished room that was spacious and cozey. The room also had a second bed which allowed me to have a friend stay with me.” Burger says she’d stayed in a hotel room her first night of treatment and says it was scary and lonely. She says the Hope Lodge was just the opposite. She says, “I feel passionate about Hope Lodge because it came into my life when I really needed a sense of family while I was away from my own. It was very comforting to be able to lean on others that were also going through chemotherapy and or radiation.” She says the Hope Lodge helped her during “a dark and difficult time in my life.”
Tegeler says Ron Pearson, the chairman of the board of the Hy-Vee grocery chain, will lead the statewide campaign to raise money to build the lodge. She says the goal is eight million dollars, with about half of that being the amount needed to construct the building. The remaining money will go into an endowment for the ongoing operation of the facility. Tegeler says they’d love to be able to complete the fundraising next spring and break ground. If you’d like to donate to the new Hope Lodge, you can call 800-A-C-S-2345, or you can surf to:www.cancer.org.