Jacksonville’s Hope Lodge
Construction vehicles, engineers and workers are busily at work on Mayo Clinic’s West Campus in Jacksonville, FL. For almost two years, neighbors have watched the excavation and gradual building of a new $19.6 million facility which will offer free lodging for patients seeking cancer treatment in the Jacksonville medical community. Neighbors have watched the foundation being laid and the impressive and welcoming facility gradually rise.
When the Jacksonville Hope Lodge opens its doors in November, 2019, the 31-room facility will save cancer patients and their caregivers an estimated $3 million annually in lodging expenses. One of the large motivating factors for the American Cancer Society in this campaign was learning the very large percentage of cancer patients who do not follow up with the proper care after being diagnosed, even if they have proper insurance. Patients and their families cannot afford the lodging and other costs in seeking treatment in a distant city.
Each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city. Not having to worry about where to stay or how to pay for lodging allows guests to focus on getting better. Hope Lodge provides a nurturing, home-like environment where guests can retreat to private rooms or connect with others. Currently, there are more than 30 Hope Lodge locations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Accommodations and eligibility requirements vary by location. Every Hope Lodge also offers a variety of resources and information about cancer and how best to fight the disease.
Leading the construction project and aligned fundraising campaign is sixteen year veteran of the American Cancer Society, Mel Toran, Executive Director of Community Development. In my role as Programs Chair for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Health Council, I recently interviewed Mel to learn more about The Hope Lodge’s mission and the American Cancer Society’s strategic initiatives in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida.
- The Lodge provides timely support. It gives access to care treatment adding tremendous value with a positive impact on the caregiver and the patient’s overall care experience. It’s their home.…away from home, without worry.
- A separate ACS initiative is focused on prevention of 6 types of cancers. HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is a common virus that infects teens and adults. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. With health check-ups and increased screen rates, HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccination is recommended for boys and girls ages 11-12 to protect against cancers later in life caused by HPV infection.
ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer
Last week at Mel’s invitation, I attended ACS’ ResearcHERS launch party to kick-off the initiative designed to support women in research, specifically cancer research. One in three Americans will battle cancer in their lifetime. It can be hard to believe that a single person can make a difference. But funding just one research breakthrough, or one study with the right outcome, could potentially save thousands of lives. ResearcHERS is a movement that engages women to raise funds that directly support cancer researchers—women cancer researchers. The event included inspirational presentations from Dr. Gaelyn Scuderi 2019 ResearcHERS Campaign Chair and Verline Justilien, PhD Assistant Professor at Mayo Clinic Center for Biomedical Discovery discussing the importance of the research underway and key findings. They also acknowledged this campaign (the first of its kind in Florida) helps to sustain women-led cancer research while encouraging a new generation of young women to consider careers in science.
American Cancer Society in Florida
Research to eliminate cancer is made possible with support from the American Cancer Society grants. The American Cancer Society is currently funding 19 grants in Florida totaling more than $10 million.
- Mayo Clinic – Jacksonville
- Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Inc.
- University of Florida, Gainesville
- University of Miami
- Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute
There is hope. Imagine a world free from cancer. You can help make a dream become a reality. Whether you donate financial contributions, your skills or your time as a volunteer for the the American Cancer Society, you support people who provide lifesaving cancer research studies, crucial patient care programs, and education and prevention initiatives in our community.