Hope Lodge provides a free place to stay for cancer patients

By | May 2, 2019 9:24 am

By Rachel Auberger

Editor’s note: This story is one of several that will be featured leading up to the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, which will be May 11, 2019, at Metcalf Park, in downtown Sparta. For more information, call Roxanna Hitchcock, (931) 808-2852.

Relay For Life is an ongoing fundraising campaign for the American Cancer Society, and while some of the money is used for cancer research, some money is also used to help cancer patients who reside in White County.

American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge program provides a free home away from home for cancer patients and their caregivers, but there are rules. Patients staying at a Hope Lodge must be in active cancer treatment and permanently reside more than 40 miles or one hour away from their cancer treatment center. Each patient must also be accompanied by a caregiver. These rules mean that cancer patients who are traveling from White County to Nashville are eligible to use the Memorial Foundation Hope Lodge.

Hope Lodge offers a supportive, homelike environment where guests can share a meal, join in the evening’s activities in the recreational area, enjoy an evening on the patio, or relax in their own rooms. The lodge has 41 guest rooms in which patients can stay throughout the week. There are kitchens where guests can fix their favorite meal and laundry facilities to be sure that clothes are always fresh.

Hope Lodge also offers a shuttle bus to transport guests to and from their treatments. Guests simply fill out an itinerary and book their shuttle. The bus will pick them up at the front door of the Lodge, take them to their treatment facility and bring them back.

The best thing about the Hope Lodge? Thanks to donations made to the American Cancer Society through events like Relay for Life, all services are completely free. There is absolutely no charge for a qualifying patient and their caregiver to stay at Hope Lodge or use their services.

Wenda Leftwich, a White County resident, stayed at Hope Lodge for five days when she was receiving treatments for breast cancer.

“My doctor told me about the program, and I was so thankful,” Leftwich said. “It is such a good place full of great people.”

Leftwich, who had to have treatments twice a day for the week she was there, said that being able to stay at Hope Lodge took stress off her family.

“I had to have my first treatment at 6 a.m. every day and my second at 1 p.m.,” she explained. “It was such a relief to not have to worry about the traffic driving back and forth or the gas money.”

According to Marlene Delong, senior community representative with the American Cancer Society, nine patients from White County benefited from both the Nashville and the Memphis Hope Lodge facilities, in 2018.  According to Delong, 98 nights of free stays were used by the residents of White County in the past year. She also said that if Hope Lodge is full, they make arrangements with other area hotels to house patients until a room opens up at the lodge.

“The money you donate to American Cancer Society does indeed go to directly help residents of your county,” she said. “Some money does go toward research, but some is also spent on things like gas cards for patients needing to travel to treatments and the Hope Lodge. Your donation does for sure help your neighbor.”

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