As you know, my posts to the blog have been missing in action for the past several weeks. Nothing bad or wrong, mind you. Just lots of travel, lots of meetings, lectures and getting to know some very wonderful people across the country.
So I am sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, trying to catch up on emails while attending yet another meeting (yes, on a Sunday. Maybe it's time to get a life). And I came across the message below about our Hope Lodge in Manhattan which celebrated its fourth anniversary this past week. And when you think about it, it is a very special story:
"This past Saturday, November 5, Hope Lodge NYC celebrated its 4th birthday! We are proud to report that, since opening our doors, we have served 6,900 cancer outpatients and their caregivers (55% patients; 45% caregivers)...Here are some highlights (cumulative figures):
* Representation from 29 countries and 46 states
* Average length of stay: 3 weeks
* 60% Female; 40% Male
* 26 referring institutions
* Daily wait list
* 63,000 nights of lodging provided
* Savings to patients in hotel costs of nearly $20 million!
* 580 wellness and educational programs conducted
* 475 social activities held thousands of hospitality, wellness and employee/community group volunteers
"We are grateful to all those who work with us to make introductions to Hope Lodge NYC, continue to help us complete our capital campaign (still a ways to go), raise funds to support our annual budget, volunteer time and talent, and create awareness about our home-away-from home for cancer patients and their caregivers. We are truly giving individuals a chance to survive...another birthday....and we all join together in taking great pride in this "gem" in the heart of Manhattan.
"Mamie, a patient from Georgia, left behind these thoughts: 'Arriving here at Hope Lodge was truly an incredible experience, beyond anything I could have imagined. I had a long, hard journey....cancer treatments, congestive heart failure and other complications. I am so happy to say that I have completed my treatments and I am cancer free! Hope Lodge helped me to be optimistic and to realize that cancer does not mean that you have to be alone. There are so many people willing to lend a helping hand. Hope Lodge brought me peace during a very difficult time in my life. I thank the American Cancer Society, the staff, volunteers and donors who make it possible. You helped me more than words can express....' "
There are a number of programs that the American Cancer Society offers to help people with cancer get well and celebrate more birthdays. Yet I suspect that many of you don't know about many of those activities--until you or someone you know or love is diagnosed and treated for cancer. It may be a call to our information center, a visit to our website, or help getting back and forth from your cancer treatment.
Hope Lodge is one of those very special programs. Our Lodge in Manhattan is just one of 31 Lodges around the country, frequently associated with major cancer centers or in cities where several cancer centers are located. These lodges provide housing at no cost to patients and their caregivers as they receive their treatment, which is frequently highly specialized cancer care at locations far from their homes as was the case with Mamie whose comments are offered above.
At a time of great need, patients are able to receive care that they may not have otherwise been able to consider because the costs of housing would have made such care far beyond their means. And the ability of the Society to provide that incredible service is a direct result of the efforts of people just like you, people who care and make it possible for the American Cancer Society to do what we do.
So I add my congratulations to the Hope Lodge in Manhattan as they celebrate their anniversary, and to the many Hope Lodges, their dedicated staffs and volunteers around the country who make this wonderful program available to so many.
But most of all I thank those of you who do so much all year long to help us fund these programs and make them possible. Hope Lodge is but one program of the Society which for eases the burdens of people from across the country at a moment in their lives when their needs are the greatest.
You are truly their angels for making these services possible. Many people are going to celebrate more birthdays because of you. So, thank you for all that you do!