When Fred Rogers was a young boy and would see scary things on the news, his mother would comfort him by telling him to “look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”  

One of those helpers is the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. Located across the street from Penn State Hershey Medical Center is a 14 room home that provides free overnight lodging for cancer patients and their loved ones. Hope Lodge just celebrated their 30 year anniversary of helping patients and their families by “giving hope a home.”

Many of the guests at Hope Lodge live over 40 miles away in rural parts of Pennsylvania. Often, they are receiving intensive treatment for a variety of cancers that require frequent medical appointments, blood testing, scans, and treatments. Having daily appointments while being in a fragile condition makes it difficult to return to their own homes. Hope Lodge opens their doors to help these individuals facing these challenges.

It is not unusual for a patient and their family member to spend up to six months at Hope Lodge after bone marrow transplants. During their stay, they have access to a home-like environment with a large kitchen and dining area, a great room with a fireplace, an enclosed porch, small library with a computer, a laundry room with state-of-the-art equipment, and free shuttle service to and from the hospital.

Hope Lodge offers more than a roof over their head. It provides a phenomenal group of dedicated staff that supports the guests during their hardships. The lodge also provides a sense of community as families share mealtimes as well as various evening activities.

When you are diagnosed with cancer, it is critical to assemble a team of supporters that know what to do and how to help. When you are tired, frail and far away from home, you need to know that there is a place that can provide you with a place to stay and offer you support. We are very fortunate to have Hope Lodge provide a home away from home for many of these individuals suffering from illness. To learn more about Hope Lodge, check out their Facebook page. Donations are also greatly appreciated to support the families, visit this website.