Letters for Sept. 10, 2016

• Hope Lodge Hawaii dream becoming reality for patients

Hope Lodge Hawaii dream becoming reality for patients

During my cancer treatment many years ago, I spent two months in Honolulu. There, I was bolstered by the familiar comforts of my childhood home and the attention of a caring dad and nurse mom. And it was a really, really hard time.

It’s much harder for the Kauai cancer patients who do not have Oahu family or friends, and must brave it alone in a hotel room. Spouses or supporters often have to stay home to maintain income, care for children, or feed the dog. Those who try to commute or return too early expose themselves to travel fatigue, increased stress, and cold or flu bugs — all things to avoid when already critically ill. For some, the logistics and financial burdens are so daunting they forgo treatment all together.

We are lucky to have excellent cancer care available at Wilcox Medical Center and Kauai Medical Clinic. For some patients however, their case requires testing, surgery, or treatment at an Oahu facility.

That is why I’m proud to support the American Cancer Society’s new Hope lodge in Hawaii, now under construction in downtown Honolulu. Once its doors open in November, this “home away from home” will offer neighbor island patients and their caregiver a free, temporary, convenient place to stay while they undergo cancer treatment.

Hope Lodge Hawaii will have 20 private guest rooms, a double kitchen, laundry facilities, dining and living areas, a library, reflection room and garden. At this “inn with a mission,” patients won’t worry about the availability or expense of a hotel and can focus on recovery in a secure and friendly environment, with supportive staff and a common bond with the other guests.

Construction is on schedule and about $100,000 is left to raise out of a $12 million goal. Kauai families, Hoedown For Hope attendees, and foundations — such as the Antone and Edene Vidinha Charitable Trust and the Carlozzi Charitable Foundation — have stepped up to support the project with empathy and generosity.

Hope lodge is for us, Kauai! To support and see progress of the American Cancer Society’s Hope lodge, please visit www.hopelodgehawaii.org and like Hope Lodge Hawaiian Facebook.com.

Mary Williamson

Former executive director, American Cancer Society, Kauai office

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