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There’s a Lot of HOPE at Hope Lodge

**The following post is a part of our blog series that we will do each month as a part of our cancer observance mission information.  These courageous cancer survivors are sharing their story…..the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly.  But the great news, thanks to the work of the American Cancer Society, they are with us today and we hope these stories provide inspiration to all who read them. 


I sat with my husband as the doctor delivered the news we did not want to hear, “You have Cancer”.  After spending some time with my oncologist in the exam room and going over the next steps, we proceeded to the elevator to begin our journey home and figure out how to deal with what our future would hold.  While standing at the elevator, I was looking down as I didn’t want anyone to see what the result of many minutes of heaving tears was after being told the news.  I could see there was a person in a wheelchair and so I looked up before entering the elevator.  The lady pushing the wheelchair had on a Relay For Life T-shirt and a Hope Lodge Volunteer Lanyard.  She smiled at me, and I felt compelled to reveal…. I am a Relayer.  She explained she was a volunteer at Hope Lodge and the gentleman in the wheelchair was receiving treatments and she was transporting him back and forth from Hope Lodge in Atlanta to Emory’s Winship Cancer Center.  I knew Hope Lodge well.  My Relay For Life Event Leadership Team had served dinner there a couple of times and I toured it again with the National Relay For Life Leadership Team during a meeting in Atlanta.  I explained this to the volunteer, and she said words that I will never forget…” There’s a lot of HOPE at Hope Lodge”.  At that time, in that place after the devastating news I had just received, I knew a Relay For Life t-shirt and a message of Hope from a Volunteer would help carry me successfully through my cancer journey.  Two weeks later, as my treatment began, I would need to meet with a Social worker who would explain different ways I could have assistance during my process.  I was to have my Stem Cells Harvested from my body after a few rounds of chemo where my blood would hopefully be cleaner to be able to use my own Stem Cells if/when I needed them for a transplant.  As this process requires close monitoring, and we lived more than 30 minutes from Emory, the Social Worker had news…. there is a room available at Hope Lodge right around the corner that you can stay at for the 4 days of your procedure.  Do you know about Hope Lodge?  I got a huge smile on my face….do I know about Hope Lodge??? Oh yes, the place filled with Hope.  Three months later, though week from my chemo treatment, I packed a bag and my husband and I walked in to Hope Lodge…not as I had walked in before as a volunteer, but as a patient.  At this point, I felt my Cancer Journey was coming full circle. Since losing my parents 28 years before, both from cancer, and becoming involved with the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life and raising funds for places like Hope Lodge, I was now “that” person.  My four days there was no vacation by any means; however, at the end of my procedures and bloodwork, it was a beautiful, quiet place for respite from this part of my journey.  So, I say thank you to everyone who has ever given a donation to the American Cancer Society and have funded all of the Hope Lodges that we have across the United States.  I hope reading this lets you know firsthand…it’s not “just a place to stay”, it is a place filled with love…and lots of Hope.

Nan Jenkins is an 8-year survivor of Multiple Myeloma Bone Marrow Cancer.  She still goes to Winship Cancer Center every 10 weeks to check her status and her cancer remains stable.  Nan is a Voice of Hope and a Global Hero of Hope and a 34-year volunteer with the American Cancer Society.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a leading cancer-fighting organization with a vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. We are improving the lives of people with cancer and their families as the only organization combating cancer through advocacy, research, and patient support, to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.

Read more about us.

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