The treatment for cancer can be a long, arduous journey. Not only emotionally, but treatment options may require travel. The treatment process is demanding in itself at best and is often debilitating. Going back and forth between doctor’s offices and medical facilities, enduring treatment regimes that can last for weeks or months, the American Cancer Society has found a way to help patients and their families lighten their load through this difficult time. Like a shining beacon, two Hope Lodges are available to help patients navigate it all.
The American Cancer Society Benjamin Mendick Hope Lodge is a short term residential facility located in Tampa. The lodge is in proximity to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Center but accepts patients from othertreatment centers as well. The facility has 40 individual suites with one entire floor dedicated to bone marrow transplant patients. There is a community dining area, six kitchens, a library and computer room. There is even a day room for outpatients and families who just need a break from the clinical atmosphere. This lodge requires a referral from a hospital social worker or designated hospital staff.
The American Cancer Society Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge is in Gainesville and does not require a hospital referral. This lodge is located on four landscaped acres with gardens, patios and picnic areas for use by guests and family. There are 45 suites, most accommodate two people; a patient and a caregiver. There are four TV lounges. Over 7,000 people have been housed atthis lodge since it was first built in 1986.
The most important aspect of a Hope Lodge, according to the letters and comments found at their website, is the compassion and support the patients, their families and caregivers find while staying there. The atmosphere is positive and open to patient interaction. It is often in another patient or family member that one finds the compassionate support and encouragement needed to continue his or her personal battle. Staff is onsite 24 hours per day along with a number of volunteers.
Like so many of the services provided by the American Cancer Society, a stay at the Hope Lodge is completely free of charge. You can find the eligibility requirements and admission process at the following websites.
Tampa Hope Lodge information: www.cancer.org/Treatment/SupportProgramsServices/HopeLodge/Tampa/tampa-staying-with-us
Gainesville Hope Lodge information: www.cancer.org/Treatment/SupportProgramsServices/HopeLodge/Gainesville/florida-stayingwith-us