HONOLULU — The American Cancer Society completed its Hope Lodge in Honolulu Thursday with a dedication ceremony.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Gene Redden, cancer survivor from Kauai. “Nearly 11 years ago, I experienced firsthand the challenges of traveling to Oahu for treatment. I spent weeks in Honolulu for necessary chemo and radiation treatments to help save my life. It left me physically drained and exhausted, but the most difficult part was the burden of trying to find lodging while staying on Oahu.”
At times, the housing was beyond his means to handle alone, Redden said.
“Now, our families or friends will no longer have to make the tough decision to forego life-saving treatments simply because of travel or lodging costs — and that is truly something to celebrate,” he said.
The Hope Lodge will provide free lodging and amenities to cancer patients who travel from the neighbor islands and Guam to Honolulu for treatment.
“At today’s ceremony, it was an honor to recognize the many supporters who generously donated and worked tirelessly to bring this much needed resource to Oahu,” said Jim Schuler, Hope Lodge Campaign Cabinet co-chair said in a press release. “The Hope Lodge was designed to provide both the patient and caregiver all the comforts of home.”
This year, about 6,850 people in Hawaii were diagnosed with cancer and 650 of them traveled from the neighbor islands to receive treatment on Oahu.
With 20 patient suites, the facility provides a private bedroom with two twin beds, a private bathroom, television, dresser and internet. There are also common areas throughout the facility which include a kitchen, living rooms, a garden, a shared-laundry room on each floor and library.
“To have a place so home-like, to have somewhere where they can cook their own meals, be around other patients who are going through the same thing, it’s like a built-in support group in that sense,” said Mary Williamson, former executive director, American Cancer Society, Kauai office. “They can stay as long as their doctor says as long as they are in active treatment. So that might be three day or it might be three months, it might be even longer.”
Williamson said the access patients will receive for treatment will go a long toward recovery. From rides to and from treatment and even getting picked up from the airport, patients will be able to receive their treatment without complication.
The average stay of patients utilizing the Society’s other operating Hope Lodge facilities around the country is about 15 nights. The Hope Lodge in Hawaii, 251 Vineyard Street, is expected to serve nearly 487 patients per year.
The Queen’s Medical Center was recognized during Thursday’s ceremony for contributing the land and The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation was honored for its $3.5 million gift to help start the campaign.
Patients will be able to arrive and stay at the facility beginning Nov. 28.