Cancer Journey Leads to New Friends in an Unexpected Place

Francis-King

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Prostate Cancer Survivor Francis King finds support at American Cancer Society B. Thomas Golisano Hope Lodge Hospitality House

Rochester, NY (May 6, 2011) - When Francis King, of Clinton, NY, learned he had prostate cancer, he wanted a second opinion. So he and his wife, Claudia, packed a bag and headed for the University of Rochester Medical Center.  “Packing a bag” meant staying with a cousin in Rochester and sleeping on a pullout couch.

Within days, Fran learned he had a very aggressive prostate cancer and needed to begin treatment immediately.  He started hormone therapy and returned home with hope that the medication would shrink the tumor so that when it was time to begin radiation, less surrounding tissue would be damaged. 

Fran learned his best treatment would be 8 weeks of radiation in Rochester as there was absolutely no way to receive this high-precision radiation in Utica, or even Syracuse.  But how does a middle-income family afford a place to stay, and food?  Eight weeks on a pullout couch was out of the question.

A Home Away From Home
That’s when a call came in from a social worker who told them about the American Cancer Society B. Thomas Golisano Hope Lodge Hospitality House, a place where cancer patients and their caregiver can stay – for free!   “We would have probably still come to Rochester for treatment, but we would have had to mortgage our home to rent a motel or apartment,” said Fran. “We are middle class, but it would have been extremely taxing on our resources.”

Getting the right care sometimes means having to travel far from home.  “Patients spend millions of dollars every year on overnight stays, adding to the financial strain of mounting medical bills and interrupted employment,” said Lorraine Clement, Manager of the B. Thomas Golisano Hope Lodge Hospitality House in Rochester, “Hope Lodge Hospitality House addresses these concerns with free or low-cost lodging for cancer, trauma and organ transplant patients and their caregiver, in a supportive environment.” 

Potential Hope Lodge Hospitality House guests must be referred by their treatment center or hospital.  Travel time and length of stay, along with other guidelines, determine if potential guests are eligible for Hope Lodge Hospitality House services. American Cancer Society donations cover the cost for people with cancer.  Organ transplant, trauma and other patients pay a nominal fee.

“I don’t know of any other organization or place that provides free lodging, kitchen, everything you need to live,” said Fran. “You have the same facilities you have as home.”   “When you are going through treatment,” Claudia added, “You don’t always feel well.  It was nice to have a place to rest that was only minutes away from the hospital.”

A Built-in Support System
Soon after arriving at Hope Lodge Hospitality House, the King’s learned that as you meet and talk with other families staying at Hope Lodge Hospitality House, wonderful friendships are formed.  When someone first arrives, and they come to the dining room for the first time, they often find a single table, way off to the side.  The King’s often made a point of by inviting them to join them.  Soon, they realized they were not the only ones in that situation and became friends.  “We had our own little support group right there at the Lodge,” said Fran. “Everyone was going through the same thing, the same emotional issues.”

While cancer centers and hospitals provide treatment for guests, Hope Lodge Hospitality House serves as an extension of the healing process.  A variety of wellness and support programs are offered to all cancer, trauma, and transplant patients.

Passionate for Promoting Hope Lodge
The American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge program has been expanding since the 1980’s. In fact, there are now 31 Hope Lodges across the country, including Buffalo, Rochester and New York City.  “We know the American Cancer Society does research,” said Fran, “I just wish more people knew about Hope Lodge. Now I am telling everyone about Hope Lodge Hospitality House.”

To learn more about Hope Lodges, visit www.cancer.org/hopelodge  or call 1.800.227.2345.
 

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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.