Burlington, VT, Hope Lodge celebrates five years of helping cancer patients

Lois McClure and Jill Smith at Hope Lodge Burlington's 5th birthday celebration

The Hope Lodge, Lois McClure - Bee Tabakin Building in Burlington, VT, celebrated its 5th birthday on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, with a special tribute to Bee Tabakin, who died of cancer last year at the age of 89.

Community supporters, Society board members, media partners, and Hope Lodge guests gathered to celebrate the occasion and recognize the contributions of those who made the 16-suite, 17,000-square-foot Hope Lodge possible.

Dr. Ted James, New England Division Board of Directors member, welcomed the visitors and shared heartfelt words of appreciation from former Hope Lodge guests. 

Don Gudaitis, Executive Vice President & New England Division Operating Officer, remarked on the community partnerships inspired by the vision of childhood friends Lois McClure and Bee Tabakin, who initiated the capital building campaign for a new Hope Lodge in Burlington and for whom the Lodge is named. 

The highlight of the evening was when Peg Camp, Senior Vice President, Operations, presented a bell inscribed "Bee Well" to Bee's daughter, Jill Smith. Lodge guests will ring it on their last day of treatment. The sound will fill the halls with hope and pay tribute to Bee, who dedicated more than 50 years to helping cancer patients get well. 

Hope Lodge Manager Angela Putnam presented a birthday cake with a candle for Lois to extinguish with a wish for hope and healing.  Over the six decades that Bee and Lois knew each other, each woman lost a daughter to cancer. Lois's daughter, Judy, died in 1961 at the age of nine, one year after doctors discovered a kidney tumor. A room in the first Hope Lodge Burlington was dedicated in her memory. Bee's daughter, Ruth Ann Kaye, died in 1990 at the age of 42 following more than two years of treatment for lung cancer. Their experiences with cancer didn't end there: Bee survived two rounds of breast cancer, which was first diagnosed in 1980, and Lois's husband was diagnosed with lymphoma and melanoma.

The Lodge has been a home away from home for nearly 2,000 cancer patients since opening its doors in 2008.  Click here to learn more.

PHOTO: From left, Lois McClure and Jill Smith, daughter of Bee Tabakin.