Peter M. Wege Guest House—
Grand Rapids, MI

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129 Jefferson Ave. SE , Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Phone: 616-551-4000

Volunteers help give hope a home at Grand Rapids Hope Lodge

Guest & Visitor Comments

Brian and Arlene Patterson

When Brian and Arlene Patterson heard that a Hope Lodge was going to be built in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the couple knew firsthand how much the facility would support cancer patients and their families. Their adult daughter had needed multiple surgeries for a tumor in her leg, and each one required a trip out of town or state.

"We would have really been able to use the facilities if they had been available to us," said Arlene. "So we can't really understand the need for it because there is such a huge expense involved with the treatment and if you have to put on top of that lodging and meals and everything else that's involved, it's a big expense for a family."

Arlene and Brian lost their daughter to cancer in 2006 and volunteer with the American Cancer Society as a way to continue her fight. They have participated in their local Relay For Life for the past five years, and when the Grand Rapids Hope Lodge opened in January, the Pattersons were there to offer guests understanding and support in their time of treatment."

I wanted to volunteer just so I could be there because I understood what others are going through," said Arlene, who answers phones and greets guests at the Lodge. "I just thought that I could really empathize with those who were coming in for treatment because we'd been there."

Brian is a volunteer driver, giving patients rides to their treatment in the Grand Rapids area.

"We both of course felt a real closeness to others with cancer and wanted to help in some way," said Brian, who has also lost his father and brother to cancer."I enjoy being able to help get people to their treatments, socialize with them a little bit, and have a sympathetic ear if someone is so inclined to share what is going on."

Approximately 3,800 patients receive treatment at Grand Rapids-based hospitals each year. Of those, one in every four travels from outside the area for treatment. By offering lodging and transportation free of charge, Hope Lodge helps to ease the financial burden associated with lodging for out-of-area cancer patients while providing access to the full range of patient support services offered by the American Cancer Society.

As Grand Rapids continues to emerge as a premier destination for cancer treatment in the region, Hope Lodge will offer convenience, support and, most notably, hope for cancer patients and their caregivers for many years to come, thanks in large part to the dedication and passion of volunteers like Arlene and Brian.

"We're just thankful and blessed that we can be a part of it and help in any way that we can."

The two greatest needs volunteers can fulfill at the Hope Lodge are serving as receptionists and drivers. However, volunteer opportunities at Hope Lodge are varied and flexible, and serve many needs. To find a volunteer opportunity and schedule that work for you, please call the Hope Lodge at 616.551.4000.

Upon leaving the Hope Lodge, guests are asked to complete a satisfaction survey. Below are responses to the question, “What did you enjoy about the Hope Lodge?”

"The staff and volunteers are all wonderful and very helpful."

“Player Piano.”

“Exercise Room.”

“The sweet, compassionate staff whole demonstrated such authentic, genuine caring! We felt very welcomed and secure. Also, the decor – the thoughtfulness and attention to color and art and comfy furniture goes a long way to enhance healing of body, mind, and spirit. It was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in – the abundance of pillows was much appreciated and enabled a tolerable position and allowed a deep, healing sleep.”

“Your facility is well run by kind and caring staff. It was a Godsend to be so close to the hospital and to know that I did not have to worry about getting back to a hotel room.”

“Quiet rest.”

“Hope Lodge staff made us feel like we were family. The facility was very clean and everything that you need is provided. Excellent facility.”

“The welcome basket was a wonderful surprise and a thoughtful touch.”

“The atmosphere. We were surrounded by others, sharing our love and concerns rather than busy travelers. We had not planned to stay so long so the washers and dryers were a great help.”

“Comfortable.”

“Treatment by staff.”

“It felt like home! It was nice that they brought you to your treatments and picked you up! The staff was friendly. We had everything we needed! We appreciated the community supper every Tuesday night.”

“The homey atmosphere and excellent security system in place.”

“Everyone is so kind and concerned about you and your need, making sure you are comfortable. God bless each and every one.”

“The facilities are first class in everyway. The staff was helpful and supportive in all things. You can be very proud of this beautiful facility and your mission to make the cancer journey smoother and more comfortable.”

“I enjoyed everything, especially the quietness; I do not like noisy places.”

“The Hope Lodge was a beautiful and relaxing place to stay. It was close to the hospital so I was able to walk back and forth. The staff was very friendly and made my stay very enjoyable.”

“Friends I made.”

“How peaceful the Hope Lodge was.”

Residency at a Hope Lodge facility is a courtesy extended at the sole discretion of American Cancer Society. All individuals who meet the Hope Lodge eligibility requirements will be welcomed regardless of race, creed, citizenship, physical disability, gender, color, ethnic heritage, veteran status, economic status, or sexual orientation. For admissions information, please select a Hope Lodge location.