Wednesday, September 1, five members of the Washington County Relay for Life, along with Ian Reinhardt, Relay advisor, were privileged to visit the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in St. Louis. Hope Lodge is located on Lindell Boulevard only blocks away from the Cathedral Basicila.
As well as visiting with patients and their families, the group prepared a delicious meal of enchiladas and cheese and nachos for the residents. It was an experience that none of us will forgot for many years to come. The atmosphere was warm and inviting and the patients were happy to see us and quite pleased to have a meal provided for them.
Hope Lodge is run by the American Cancer Society and it offers a home away from home and respite for cancer patients and their families, who are undergoing cancer treatment at several of the St. Louis hospitals. Guests may stay there at no expense to them or their families. Upon registering, a 20.00 refundable fee is paid to the lodge, and upon leaving Hope the 20.00 is returned. This warm and inviting residence gives patients the ability to receive treatment, without the expense of staying in a hotel and the physical wear and tear on the body from traveling back and forth to home. Receiving chemo and radiation treatments can be very debilitating for some patients, and even those who it does not bother, find comfort in staying close to their doctors and treatment centers. An added benefit is the shuttle that provides transportation to and from doctor appointments and treatments.
Hope Lodge is set up motel style with each guest having a room with twin beds, and bath. Bedding and towels are provided, although some prefer to bring their own. There are several TVs throughout the buildings with comfortable seating, and even games. The kitchen is set up in quarters, with each quarter having a stove, sink, and kitchen ware. (Small appliances, bowls, silverware, dishes, etc)
Guests have their own refrigerator space and dry goods storage areas and most prepare their own meals, or have them prepared by family members who stay with them. Often families set various food items on the community counter for others to share. On occasion various organizations bring food in for guests. Every effort is to made to provide the utmost comfort to Hope’s guests as a time in their lives that can be difficult. As well as providing physical comforts, the camaraderie that is found there brings a tremendous moral support to patients and their families. Two couples were enjoying their meal together, when the wife of one said, “We didn’t know these people before we came, and now they are dear friends.”
Hope Lodge is a place that does what its title implies. It provides hope and light at a time in people’s lives that is often depressing and frightening. It costs the American Cancer Society 1,000.00 a day to run this facility and the many others like it across the country. When you give to the Relay for Life, some of your donations go to support this wonderful place.
Hope Lodge is always accepting and thankful for donations. Donations can be in the form of money, paper items, kitchen ware, towels and other necessities. If your group would like to make a visit there please contact the American Cancer Society. It will make your day.