Beating the Odds at Hope Lodge

October 17, 2012 2:28:42 PM PDT
Health reporter and registered nurse Ali Gorman takes us to Hope Lodge, a special place where cancer patients and their families can get away from their worries.

For 5 weeks, Gennine Chendy called the Hope Lodge in Cheltenham home.

"This facility is incredible because they provide their guests transportation," Gennine Chendy said.

Lodging is free as well for the patient and a caregiver. For Gennine, it was a lifeline

"Your anxiety level, which is already high because of treatment, is brought down."

Gennine's battle against breast cancer started last July when she noticed a red mark on her chest.

"It was not raised. It wasn't a rash. It was just a red mark."

It was stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer. Gennine endured chemotherapy well but the radiation treatments, every day for 5 weeks, wore her down.

"It can be very painful but not only that, it's very tiring."

Sitting in a car for a 3-hour round-trip commute daily, was unbearable. So she turned to Hope Lodge, a place created for cancer patients traveling more than 40 miles for treatment. Paid for by corporate and private donations, it offers private suites, common living rooms, laundry facilities and a kitchen. It also provides a live-in support group, a community of people facing the same struggle.

"That was the design of Hope Lodge," said Byron Barksdale, the general manager of Hope Lodge. "We want the patients as well as the families involved to realize that they are not in this fight alone."

After chemo, radiation and surgery, Gennine's doctor found no evidence of disease last month.

You can do your part to fight breast cancer just by joining the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Run and Walk.


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