In Sickness and Health
North Carolina Couple Face Cancer Together at Hope Lodge NYC
Through 23 years of marriage, Brenda and William Turner expected to share just about everything, for better or worse. But they never thought one of those things would be a cancer diagnosis.
The North Carolina couple will spend their Valentine’s Day at Hope Lodge in New York City. “If nothing else, we’ve got one another,” Brenda Turner said of their shared battle. “I’m in it for him, and he’s in it for me.”
How it all started….their cancer journey.
The Turners story began in 2005 when William was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. The native New Yorker was 58 years old at the time and was given six months to live. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments weren’t even an option because the cancer had spread.
But against the odds, he beat the disease and survived. “Doctors told me I was a living miracle”, said William Turner. My PSA level went down to zero, the cancer was under control. But they told me the cancer would return and it did.” Two years later Turner was back at the doctors this time undergoing chemotherapy to stabilize the cancer.
Here we go again
In 2009, Brenda who had a history of fibroid tumors had a hysterectomy. She was 57 years old when doctors told her she had Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma (ESS) a rare gynecological cancer.
She started out with radiation, but the cancer had spread to her liver, legs, lungs and even part of her skull. All the chemotherapy couldn’t stop this cancer from spreading. Brenda had to stop her passion as a music teacher because her immune system was too weak. Doctors told her about a clinical trial in New York City that she could participate in, but the Turners didn’t know how they could afford staying in a Manhattan hotel during the treatments.
Hope Lodge is a lifesaver
The Turners say Hope Lodge has been the biggest blessing. “This place represents hope and love,” says Brenda. “We wouldn’t have ever been able to stay in a New York City hotel during the treatments, it’s just too expensive.” “Hope Lodge has really been a priceless gift for us with first class amenities”, said William. “It has helped us focus on getting healthier. Everyone here is so friendly, they don’t see a disease they see a person.”
Facing cancer is hard enough. Hope Lodge gives the gift of hope by helping cancer patients ease the financial and emotional hardships that come with battling this disease.
“Our guests are the number one priority”, says Lindsay Edgar, Hope Lodge NYC Manager of Guest and Volunteer Programs. “Beyond a safe and comfortable place to stay, our guests benefit from our supportive environment, programs and activities, and knowing that they are not alone.” As one guest said, "Without any change in my prognosis, I have gone from a patient to a survivor.” All Hope Lodge services – lodging and support programs – are offered completely free of charge. Hope Lodge has guests 365 days a year, holiday time can be tough but as the Turners say they have a lot to be thankful for on this Valentine’s Day.
Love and laughter, the best medicine
Fortunately, the couple is able to laugh about the unanticipated bond they share. They say this February 14th they will continue to be each other’s caregivers by love and support. Brenda says, “Love and laugh everyday like it’s your last. Hope Lodge has been a wonderful place that always gives us glimmers of hope.”
Currently, there are 30 Hope Lodge locations throughout the United States. Accommodations and eligibility requirements may vary by location, and room availability is first come, first served. To find a Hope Lodge and to learn more about a specific facility, go to our website at cancer.org/hopelodge, or call the American Cancer Society toll free anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.