JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new center in Northeast Florida helps give ease to patients as they seek cancer treatment.
On Tuesday, which marked World Cancer Day, the American Cancer Society hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Jacksonville.
Lynnette Burnette, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year ago, moved last month from Fayetteville, North Carolina, to the Hope Lodge in the River City.
“It helps to know that I don’t have to worry about a place to live and stay while I’m sick because that takes the concentration mostly on the caner. But this helps take all the anxiety away,” Burnette said. “It’s absolutely a blessing. It is the greatest place to come to. Like I said earlier, it’s a dream come true. They provide every aspect, and if you need anything, they provide it and they make sure you get it.”
The free lodging facility provides a supportive environment with everything cancer patients and their caregivers need as they get treatment.
“They get to share the trauma and drama that goes around their treatments what it really means to them, and their families can be with them while they’re going through the treatment, so it’s win-win-win,” said Richard Schulze, founder of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. “And from my vantage point, if you’re going through this disease, how much better does it get than when you can share that journey with people very much similar to yourself?”
The Hope Lodge in Jacksonville has 30 guest rooms and is currently at capacity.
“They can stay at an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge for free for as long as they want to -- whether it’s a day, a month, a year," said Gary Reedy, CEO of American Cancer Society. "I mean, it’s just overwhelming. Most patients, when they learn that, they start crying.”
This is the first Hope Lodge in Northeast Florida and the third in Florida. There are more than 30 other Hope Lodge facilities across the country.