We were approached to work on this project in 2014. We were initially asked to work on Hope Lodge in Houston and in Dallas. So, this was a very short time after my mom passed away. And, I think a lot of my colleagues maybe felt like it would be too soon for me to work on a project like this. But… …sorry. When I heard about this project and understood what it was and that it was a place for refuge for people with cancer that were undergoing treatment in the area I thought it was a very important project to be a part of. And, I thought it was something that my mom would really be proud of. For me, the most important aspect of what I do is to make sure that other people don’t have to experience some of the hardships that my family experienced. If I could do anything to help reduce the or eliminate that stress for other families. That’s what motivates me. Well, the Hope Lodge in Dallas is going to be an incredible resource for us because it’s going to really make the difference between people being able or not able to participate in really important therapeutic clinical trials for their cancer. When patients stay at the Hope Lodge, it’s for free and then that’s really incredible because then they have to stay up to a week when they first enter a clinical trial then they have to come down every two to three weeks, sometimes weekly. for their therapy. It’s really prohibitive to come to another city and do that. But, the Hope Lodge will be kind of a home away from home. It’s going to basically make it feasible for a lot more people here in the Southwest to be able to enroll in clinical trials. And, really get the best therapy for their cancer. Dallas needs Hope Lodge for the mere reason that there are so many cancer providing agencies there. There are people coming in throughout the United States and around the world. And, this gives them a place to come and to share information. And, to have one less stress about cost. Cancer is not cheap. At all. It’s expensive. And, so if that can relieve one bit of their stress right there. That’s good. And, give them a sense of community. And, a sense of hope. You have to have hope. If you don’t have hope, that disease is going to get you. When you think cancer you think okay, chemotherapy, surgery, but all these other factors like long commutes extra costs, staying in hotels, finding a place for your caregivers to stay while you’re in the hospital is something that never really crosses our mind when we get diagnosed I was concerned with surviving. And, making it through all of this. The last thing on my mind was figuring out a commuting schedule. Or, reserving a last-minute hotel. Since the day of my diagnosis, I’ve undergone 27 rounds of chemotherapy, and most recently, in April, a bone marrow transplant with my brother’s healthy stem cells. When my friend who had stayed at the Hope Lodge first told me about it it almost sounded too good to be true. He would talk about how the Hope Lodge, was one of the most powerful and inspiring and moving experiences he’d ever had. In some way it had been the highlight of his cancer experience. I remember first arriving to the Hope Lodge here. And, I had no idea what to expect. I was so exhausted and the first thing we saw was this waterfall in the lobby. And, we both kind of stopped and said, “Really?” This can’t be the right place. This is far too nice. And, we went upstairs and I remember feeling so relieved as I sort of sank down into my bed and kind of breathed a sigh of relief. I mean, New York is called the Concrete Jungle but, his place feels like a sanctuary. Cancer patients going through chemotherapy love ice cream because it’s soothes your throat. So, we would sit here and watch really bad romantic comedies and eat a lot of ice cream. It didn’t just feel like I was in a hotel. It felt like I was stepping into a supportive community that wanted to do everything they possibly could to make a difference in this difficult time. One of the things that amazed me when I was staying at the Hope Lodge was just how many cancer patients were cycling through. It’s so clear that there is a need for a place like a Hope Lodge. And, an immediate need. Dallas needs Hope Lodge because we have so much to offer in terms of cancer care. And, we want to make sure as many people as possible benefit from that cancer care. Dallas has so much to offer anyway. Not ony cancer care, but the support, the hope. The promise that I think accompanies the cancer care and that’s what the Dallas Hope Lodge can help provide. You’re finding a home away from home. You’ve got a social structure, social network, a cocoon of security and hope and promise. It makes hope more possible.I think it makes hope easier to achieve. If you’ve exhausted all your bank accounts and maxed all your credit cards. It’s hard to be hopeful in times like that. But, if you don’t have to worry about that, you have more time to be hopeful. You see that there is someone else out there who’s looking out for you and wants to support you, care for you. So, that I think makes hope a lot easier. When we are undergoing a battle of any kind, it’s hope the pulls us through. And, we all need to have something to attach our hopes to. And, the Hope Lodge will provide that for these patients. It’ll give them a place where they can connect with others. Where they can go and have respite at the end of the day. And, where they can really feel the support, not only of their caregiver, but of the community around them. And, the American Cancer Society. If you look at the different cities where we have Hope Lodges, and there’s quite a few Hope Lodges already in the U.S. And you look at patients who have completed their treatment, and they’re now cancer free. To almost a person, they give back to the Hope Lodge. They either volunteer, or they give back financially because it’s been so impactful in their lives that they want to turn around and impact someone else’s life in the way that Hope Lodge has. And, that’s a beautiful legacy. Give hope a home. Help bring hope home to Dallas. Give hope a home. With your support, we can help give hope a home here in Dallas.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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