Hope Lodge will be a home-away-from-home for cancer patients who travel from across the state and region to receive care at any of the premier treatment centers Salt Lake has to offer. It will provide a comfortable, supportive environment for both patient and caregiver to stay for free, a service currently unavailable anywhere in the region. The project kicked-off in 2011 with a land donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has since been in a capital campaign to raise funds to bring the facility to Utah. The fundraising campaign has now raised nearly $17 million, demonstrating the recognition of urgent need and deep support from the community.
“Battling cancer is hard enough, patients and caregivers shouldn’t have to worry about travel and lodging arrangement or their associated costs,” said Katie Eccles, Hope Lodge Campaign Chair.. “Today we are yet another step closer in bringing hope to our neighbors and friends in need. With Hope Lodge, no one will ever need to forego treatment because of the cost of travel and lodging away from home—this is paramount in creating a world with no cancer.”
The ground breaking ceremony celebrated the milestone, highlighted the local American Cancer Society programs dedicated to fighting cancer, and recognized the generous donors who have contributed to the campaign. Lead donors for the Lodge include:
• The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
• George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation
• State of Utah
• OC Tanner
• Sorenson Legacy Foundation
“We have worked toward this milestone for three long years, with the help and support of many who also believe in the cause,” said Pam Higginson, Vice President and Hope Lodge Campaign Director for the American Cancer Society Great West Division. “Beginning construction means our vision to create a refuge of hope for cancer patients is taking shape and becoming a reality. With just one million left in fundraising, this ceremony serves to celebrate a great milestone in bringing a Hope Lodge to Utah and thank everyone who has and continues to aid in giving hope a home.”
The first dig into the ground was performed by Eccles, joined by Jack A. Johnson of A-Core Inc., who donated the demolition of the old church building that was on the site in loving memory of his wife Ruth, who passed away from cancer earlier this year. Present at the ground breaking were Utah Speaker of the House Rebecca Lockhart, Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck, and First Counselor of the LDS Presiding Bishopric Bishop Gérald Caussé. Also present was George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation Chairman and CEO Spencer F. Eccles, OC Tanner CEO Dave Petersen, President and Chair of The Sorenson Legacy Foundation Ann Crocker as well as the Hope Lodge campaign board and American Cancer Society regional officers.
With construction now underway by R&O Construction, the project is expected to take approximately one year, opening to cancer patients in the summer of 2015. Building plans for the 63,000 sq. ft. lodge include 41 private suites, common living and cooking/dining areas, a healing garden and a study. The average stay of patients utilizing the Society’s other operating lodges around the country is around 21 nights. The Hope Lodge in Utah is expected to serve nearly 800 patients per year.
Along with providing lodging to cancer patients, the new facility will serve as a full cancer resource center, housing the local American Cancer Society offices and bringing the Society’s quality of life programs and resources with it, including Relay for Life, Road to Recovery, Reach to Recovery, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and Look Good…Feel Better. To donate to the cause or get involved in the many American Cancer Society volunteer programs visit www.hopelodgeutah.org.
About The American Cancer Society Utah
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. As we mark our 100th birthday in 2013, we're determined to finish the fight against cancer. We're finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.