Avondale lodge for cancer patients, caregivers closing

After 14 years, Cincinnati’s home away from home for cancer patients is shutting its doors. The American Cancer Society just announced the Hope Lodge will close Nov. 16. (WKRC)

AVONDALE, Ohio (WKRC) - After 14 years, Cincinnati’s home away from home for cancer patients is shutting its doors. The American Cancer Society just announced the Hope Lodge will close Nov. 16.

They say the reason is because not enough families need it.

The ACS says there are 22 rooms at the Hope Lodge on Reading Road in Avondale. On average, 60 percent are empty. But for the people that have been around the Lodge, they say it's more than just a place to stay. Last May, the Hope Lodge was the backdrop for an event to unveil a license plate for triple negative breast cancer in honor of a young woman named Erica.

Josie Holloman-Adams works hard to keep her daughter's memory alive, and, in doing so, has worked closely with the American Cancer Society.

Holloman-Adams said, "It's just a beautiful facility and I'm surprised it's closing."

Her lifelong friend LaTasha Joiner is involved with the Hope Lodge. It opened in 2004 and in the last decade has provided over 30,000 free nights to families battling cancer. Joiner's been a volunteer.

"I fixed this spaghetti turkey casserole, and they just loved it. They wanted the recipe. And it's so sad because people don't even know about the Hope Lodge and the services that they offer,” Joiner said.

ACS Director Brittany Donnellon says the reason for closing is actually good news in the cancer fight. More people are detecting it sooner, which, in some cases, means less treatment. Plus this area has many resources.

"There's such incredible cancer treatment throughout the state of Ohio into Kentucky and Indiana, so people can choose to stay closer, stay close to home and get the same incredible treatment as if they traveled there."

Donnellon says they’ll still meet the lodging needs of patients; they'll just stay at a hotel instead. The ACS has a nationwide hotel partners program, which provides a room at little or no cost. But the people who know what the Hope Lodge is all about say it's not the same.

"You just won't feel like you are at home. You can walk in and there's fireplaces. You feel love in there. A hotel is just a hotel; it's not a home."

The ACS operates 30 other Hope Lodges across the country. This is the only one that is shutting down. They released this statement:

The American Cancer Society has made the difficult decision to discontinue operations at our Hope Lodge facility in Cincinnati. This was not an easy decision, but one critical to the Society’s commitment of careful stewardship of donor dollars and resources.
Recent studies show that lodging needs for adult cancer patients are being met in the market and that, on average, about 60% of the rooms at the Cincinnati Hope Lodge remain empty. The growth of our Hotel Partners Program is allowing us to provide similar lodging support for cancer patients and caregivers much more efficiently than we can do with the Cincinnati Hope Lodge facility.
Moving forward, Society staff will continue to work with local health providers to help meet the lodging needs of cancer patients through referrals to other similar facilities in the area and our own Hotel Partners Program. Other local ACS services including cancer information, transportation, and the availability of our other lodging programs, will be unaffected. The final day of operations will be November 16, 2018.
Over the last decade, Hope Lodge has provided more than 30,000 nights of free lodging for cancer patients seeking treatment in Cincinnati. The American Cancer Society would like to sincerely thank the many volunteers and donors who have helped us create a home away from home for our guests at Hope Lodge.
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