American Cancer Society Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge—Atlanta
American Cancer Society
Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge
1552 Shoup Court
Decatur, GA 30033
Stories & Comments
What the Atlanta Hope Lodge means to me...
a) desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment, expectation of fulfillment, or success
b) someone or something on which hopes are centered
c) something hoped for
This is what one dictionary gives as a definition, but to me, hope is a place - a place where love is, a place where joy is, a place where total acceptance is, a place where friends are, a place to share hopes, dreams and aspirations.
Hope has been a place where people from diverse backgrounds, customs and cultures can gather and, with no qualms, share the most intimate details of their lives knowing that they will be understood and accepted.
We talk, we sing, we share our food and recipes, we solve puzzles, we daily discuss and solve the problems of the world over coffee with wisdom seemingly beyond ourselves.
We come from the 50 states and many of the countries around the world, bound by a common affliction, with a common heartfelt hope that here no judgment, no expectation will be placed on us. We find only an attitude that here we will be loved because here at the Atlanta HOPE Lodge we love you, and only want what is best for you.
John Myers, (Guest of the Lodge, Jan 2007)
Barriere, British Columbia, Canada
A recent reception at the American Cancer Society’s Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge in Atlanta brought together Society-funded research and training grantees, ACS national and South Atlantic Division leadership, high-level Society donors and Hope Lodge patients and caregivers. The reception at the Hope Lodge was part of a two-day career development conference for researchers and trainees who are funded by the American Cancer Society. Grantees, leaders and donors joined cancer patients and caregivers for dinner in the Lodge dining room. Speakers at the event included the Society’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. John Seffrin; Society Executive Vice President Paula Mohan; Danny Sheltz, manager of the Atlanta Hope Lodge; and Dr. David Ringer, the Society’s National Vice President of Extramural Research, who was the emcee for the program. Pictured is Dr. Seffrin addressing a standing-room-only crowd.
Caribou Coffee in Roswell, Georgia, has launched a program that lets customers purchase a pound or more of coffee and donate to a charity of their choice, and the Roswell store has identified the American Cancer Society as its charity of choice. The Roswell Caribou recently donated 100 pounds of coffee to the Society’s Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge in Atlanta. The store expects to donate more coffee to the Lodge through mid-November and is in discussions with the Society about creating a national opportunity. The American Cancer Society has 31 Hope Lodges nationwide, including the Atlanta Lodge, that provide free lodging to cancer patients, along with their caregivers, while they are being treated at local medical facilities. Pictured at the donation at the Atlanta Hope Lodge are Danny Sheltz, manager of the Lodge, and Virginia Boyd, assistant manager at the Roswell Caribou Coffee.
Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia Is Presenting Sponsor of American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer Gala for Third Consecutive Year
ATLANTA (January 24, 2012) - For the third consecutive year, Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia is the presenting sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer gala, the Society announced today. “The BasketBALL: Celebrating a Season of Hope,” a black-tie gala, is scheduled Saturday, May 19 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Buckhead and will be chaired by Georgia Tech Head Basketball Coach Brian Gregory and his wife, Yvette.
All proceeds from the gala will benefit the American Cancer Society and its Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge in Atlanta, where cancer patients stay free of charge, along with their caregivers, while undergoing treatment in metro Atlanta.
“We are so pleased to welcome back for the third year in a row Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia as our presenting sponsor,” said Randal Redner, the American Cancer Society’s Vice President for Georgia. “Not only is Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia a top-ranked facility of its kind in the nation, it is a long-time generous supporter of our Atlanta Hope Lodge and of the American Cancer Society and its fight against cancer. The continued strong support is helping us create a world with less cancer and more birthdays for everyone.”
Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia, a Vantage Oncology affiliate, is committed to providing the latest radiation technology and research to treat men and women with different types of cancer, including breast, prostate, lung, colon, lymphatic and others.
“We are proud to support individuals, and families that are battling cancer and need a place to stay when undergoing treatment,” said Shelly Glenn, vice president of marketing and sales for Vantage Oncology and the Advisory Council Chair of the Coaches vs. Cancer BasketBALL. “Atlanta’s Hope Lodge provides a comfort to those who are on a journey which is difficult, emotional and exhausting. So we are not only proud, but honored to continue supporting the Coaches vs. Cancer gala.”
The American Cancer Society’s Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge in Atlanta offers cancer patients and their caregivers a comfortable, free place to stay while undergoing treatment at area hospitals and treatment centers. The Lodge is a home away from home, providing a warm, supportive environment for patients and caregivers. The Atlanta Hope Lodge has 52 suites and is located on the Emory University campus. Last year alone, the Lodge served 662 patients and caregivers with 15,795 nights of free lodging, saving them about $2.4 million in lodging costs.
“There are so many things about Hope Lodge that are great, from the supportive environment to the dedicated staff and volunteers – many of whom are cancer survivors themselves,” says Gregory. “And the fact patients can stay at Hope Lodge free of charge, without having to worry about how to pay for lodging during weeks of treatment, allows them to focus on the most important thing: Getting well.”
Coaches vs. Cancer, founded in 1993, is a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. By empowering coaches, their teams and communities to join the fight against cancer, Coaches vs. Cancer has raised more than $55 million to help the Society fund groundbreaking cancer research; provide up-to-date cancer information and education; advocate for public health policies that benefit communities; and deliver services that improve the quality of life for patients and their families.
For more information on the gala or to become a sponsor, contact Molly Herrin at 404.582.6134 or email@example.com.
About Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia
An affiliate of Vantage Oncology, Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia was founded in 1984 and has earned a reputation for being one of the country’s top cancer treatment and research facilities because of its commitment to quality, use of the latest radiation technology and focus on research that enables it to treat men and women with different types of cancer, including breast, prostate, lung, colon, lymphatic and others. Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia has treated more than 14,000 men for prostate cancer and has compiled its observations of these men, both before and after treatment, into one of the largest computerized databases on prostate cancer in the United States. For more information, visit www.RCOG.com.
Hope Lodge Provides Home Away from Home For Macon Tennis Champion in the Match of Her Life with Leukemia
As a tennis champion, Jaime Kaplan knows what it takes to compete and win. She’s a professional tennis player and one of the most recognized athletes of all time in Macon, who reached round of 16 in mixed doubles at Wimbledon. Over the years, she has suffered and fought her way back from multiple sports injuries from her tennis matches and training. That fighting spirit has served Jaime well as she has faced down one of her toughest opponents, cancer, and undergone a bone marrow transplant to save her life. She battled to become a cancer survivor, and the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Atlanta became her home away from home during that battle.
“Hope Lodge is an absolutely amazing place,” says Jaime, 49, who was diagnosed with extramedullary acute myeloid leukemia in April 2010. “My social worker at Emory University Hospital where I was treated told me about Hope Lodge but checked and was told it was full. Then the day before I was going to a hotel, we got the call that a room had opened up at Hope Lodge.
“My Mom had arranged the hotel room and had doubts about the Hope Lodge,” she continues. “But when you walk in the Hope Lodge, you instantly have a common bond with every single person there. I don’t think I realized that until I walked in the door. My Mom’s feeling about where I should stay changed in an instant. Hope Lodge was the right place for me.”
The Society’s Hope Lodges provide a home away from home for cancer patients, along with caregivers, free of charge. The Lodges offer cheery public spaces where patients can enjoy the company of other patients and provide and receive support; private areas for patients to reflect and read; large kitchens and communal dining rooms; and transportation assistance to and from treatment. The American Cancer Society’s Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge in Atlanta opened its doors in 1998 and has served more than 5,000 patients and their caregivers. Located on the campus of Emory University, the Lodge has 52 guest suites, including 18 new suites which opened in 2009 to accommodate more patients and caregivers.
A Diagnosis of Cancer
Jaime is an athletic star, recognized not only in her hometown but state and nationwide. She was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, created and manages the Five Star Mazda Kevin Brown Celebrity Golf and Clays Classic to raise money for the Macon Rescue Mission and is president of the Middle Georgia Tennis Foundation. She is the coach of the girls’ and boys’ tennis teams at Stratford Academy in Macon where she is the school’s Major Gifts Coordinator.
Jaime’s battle with cancer started with a pain in her leg after competing in a tennis tournament in November 2009. She thought it was her sciatic nerve acting up, but when it continued into the next month she decided to see a doctor. An MRI showed that she had a fractured bone at the base of her spine, but further testing also showed a mass in the area. She made an appointment with a specialist at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, who ordered more tests along with a biopsy. The doctor also told Jaime that he was going to have hemopathologists take a look at the results of the tests.
“That sounded very serious to me,” she remembers. “And as it turns out, it was.”
She got the diagnosis on April 23, 2010: Extramedullary acute myeloid leukemia.
“I was in total shock,” she says.
Word of the diagnosis spread rapidly through the Macon community, and almost immediately, the city of Macon and Jaime’s many friends and fans began a campaign to support her. A Facebook group started by a friend called for “Prayers for Jaime Kaplan” and had 1,700 followers a in the first week. Jaime began an online journal on CaringBridge detailing her cancer battle.
“I have so much support from so many people in Macon, and I felt that I wanted to share my story and what was going on as I began treatment,” she says. “The outpouring of wishes and prayers has been just amazing. When you’re going through something like cancer, then a bone marrow transplant, the messages you get from the many people who are pulling for you is so important.”
Treatment and A Bone Marrow Transplant
Jaime began an aggressive chemotherapy regime at Emory on May 17, involving seven days of treatment 24 hours a day. Then she was hospitalized for two and a half weeks to address the expected dramatic drop in her white cell count. She was then released to go home but suffered a setback when she had an adverse reaction to the powerful antibiotic she was given. It was after her second round of chemotherapy that Jaime began her stay at Hope Lodge. She underwent a bone marrow transplant at Emory on August 27 and went to Hope Lodge after a 2 ½ -week stay in the hospital. Hope Lodge was her “home” for the next 70 days.
Hope Lodge isn’t the only American Cancer Society link in Jaime’s story. The researcher who pioneered bone marrow transplants, Dr. Donnal Thomas, was funded early in his career by two Society research grants.
“For the transplant, I was basically hooked up to a big bag of bone marrow,” Jaime says. “My family stayed with me while it transfused, which was about three hours. Everyone was laughing at me because right after the transplant, I ate a burrito, then pizza. My family has a great sense of humor, and early on we decided that while we respected the fact that I had cancer and respected the protocol and the doctors and nurses, we all wanted to laugh and keep as positive an attitude as we could.”
She adds, “While I was in the hospital, the nurses stressed how important it was to walk around, so I walked a mile every day – 21 laps around 8E at Emory hospital. The toughest part was walking around with the pole holding the medicines I was hooked up to. My Mom called it my doubles partner.”
Meanwhile, her fan club in Macon was rallying behind her as she recuperated from the transplant. “Beat Leukemia” became a mantra in Macon. Friends made t-shirts, bumper stickers, yard signs and even ordered plastic tennis rackets for people to stick in their yards – all bearing the “Beat Leukemia” message.
Brenda Haulik, the American Cancer Society’s Area Executive Director in Macon, says, “Jaime is an amazing friend and an inspiration to everyone she meets. She is a respected leader who devotes countless hours improving the lives of others. The love that our entire community feels for Jaime can be seen by the hundreds of tennis rackets displayed in yards, schools, churches, and businesses throughout Macon in support of her as she fights the match of her life. Even while bravely fighting her own personal battle with leukemia, Jaime has never lost her glowing positive spirit. She continues advocating and raising money for various causes, sends out prayer request for others, and provides an inspiration to others who are up against the same menacing opponent.”
Brenda adds that Jaime successfully chaired the American Cancer Society’s Pink Ribbon Golf Tournament in Bibb County for three years, among other fundraising events she’s led on behalf of the Society
Jaime’s determination and the strong support of the community seem to be paying off. Jaime is currently in remission and feeling good, although she still receives regular lumbar puncture chemo treatments.
“I can’t use the ‘cure’ word for five years, and doctors have told me that there is a 50-50 chance the leukemia will come back,” she says. “But I have to hope for the best. If the treatment doesn’t work out, we’ll do what we have to do.”
- "There wasn't stress; the interaction with other residents was positive and uplifting."
- "The staff goes out of their way to make life easier for the residents."
- "Interaction with others going through the same thing, planned dinners and activities were a bonus."
- "Hope Lodge provided a welcoming family-like environment which made treatment much more bearable. Everyone is very friendly and supportive. The staff is wonderful and accommodating, and provides everything one could need."
- "We experienced so much comfort and met so many nice people; you just do not get that in a lonely motel. The money saved which is a tremendous help."
- "There is not room to list all the conveniences that Hope Lodge offers."
- "Because of the travel back and forth, I couldn't have possibly been able to go through chemo and radiation at the same time [without the Hope Lodge.]"
- "Hope Lodge is a great support system, and now that I am through my treatment I can be more supportive to people who are in treatment."
- "It is the closest thing to home."
- "Hope Lodge made my treatments easy because I was always on time. Hope Lodge made me feel very at home and safe. Staff was really polite and professional."
- "The atmosphere is no comparison to a hotel; all the guests were great."
- "I wouldn't change a thing; it is beautiful, clean and very pleasant."
- "Meeting and conversing with other cancer patients stimulates the mind. The staff here makes the stay worth while, they are helpful. It is indeed "a home away from home."
- * "The home-like atmosphere made all the difference."
- * "Interacting with families going through similar treatments was beneficial as was working with a truly understanding staff."
- * "We felt like a big family."
- * "Hope Lodge is like a home away from home, the love shared by staff and other residents; it made treatment not such a horrible thing and time passes so fast."