by: Steve Hart
Did you ever walk into a place and instantly know that you were in some place special? If you havenít, you should visit Hope Lodge located in Marshfield Wisconsin. Itís not the building that is special, though it is wonderful. Itís the people that work there and the people that stay there, but more so, the reason it is special is because of the reason it was built. The name says it all.
Hope Lodge is affiliated with the American Cancer Society, but it operates on its own, raising its own capital, finding its own volunteers, and serving patients and families that come through its doors. Simply put, the mission at Hope Lodge is to serve. And it is this mission that is reflected in the eyes and the hearts of those who work there.
Hope Lodge has a roster of about 100 or so volunteers though many are not always active. There are generally about 50 volunteers who staff Hope Lodge 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, conduct business, serve residents, do laundry, clean rooms, and everything else that is necessary to running such an efficient establishment. In a city the size of Milwaukee, having 50 active volunteers wouldnít be all that amazing. In a city the size of Marshfield, itís nothing short of a miracle and it says a lot about the local residents.
This amazing staff also takes the time to get to know people who stay there. If you like to chat, so do they. If you just want to be left alone, thatís good too. They are there to serve.
Hope Lodge Mission
If you are a cancer patient and receiving treatment locally, you and your attending family are welcomed to stay at Hope Lodge though it would be very wise to call and make reservations.
They usually have space, but as with most things, there are busier times when all space is spoken for. Hope Lodge doesnít look busy, but it is with an estimated 500 guests per year.
The concept at Hope Lodge is simple. They want you to have as close to a home-like atmosphere as possible. You sleep there, you eat there, you can do your laundry there, and no guest is ever charged a dime to stay. The upper floors are set up much like large hotel rooms though unlike hotels, only those who are staying there are allowed to go up. Rooms are spacious and well-appointed, and you can easily live here as some patients do for weeks at a time.
On the entrance floor, a total of 4 kitchens are made available to residents, and we arenít talking about a poorly equipped kitchenette here. The four complete kitchens are open, well-lit, and share a hardwood floor with the common dining area. This is the kind of place that cooking competitions dream of.
Each resident is given a shelf in the refrigerator and freezer in their shared kitchen and just like at home, residents share in kitchen duties. You are welcomed to make a mess, but just as welcomed to clean it up. Residents may also take what they need out of common refrigerators and freezers as well as fruits and pastries that are left out in the kitchen and snack areas. This is particularly helpful to those arriving late at night and who donít have the time to get to a store before they go in for treatment in the morning.
You will also find a library filled with novels and VHS movies that you can take back to your room, or there is usually a puzzle in a partial state of completion. Want to visit with others or just kick back in one of many overstuffed chairs or couches and watch some large screen television in front of a fireplace. Itís here too.
For those that are looking for some downtime, Hope Lodge provides an entire lower level of rooms with specific purposes. Thereís the meditation room, complete with every book of scriptures or wisdom you can think of, thereís a room with exercise equipment, another one for visiting kids, and even a day room where someone whoís not a guest could take a nap. Also downstairs is the laundry facility where guests can wash their clothes and a storage area with wigs for those that need them due to hair loss from chemotherapy.
Things are nice here at Hope Lodge, but they arenít extravagant here either. Hope Lodge is an efficient organization that provides the services that are necessary for anyone to live comfortably, be it a short or a long stay.
Hope Lodge doesnít qualify for government funding, United Way funding, or any other large general pool of financial aid. They strictly rely off the good will of everyday folks. Donations come in all shapes and forms from people who donate their time, to those who bring in food, to those who donate cash. Several people have left money from their estate to Hope Lodge.
More information on Hope Lodge
If you want to contact Hope Lodge about their services or to make a donation:
611 W. Doege Street
Marshfield, WI 54449
Hope Lodge Premises Information
Hope Lodge and the grounds are designated as non-smoking
Only authorized drugs are allowed on the premises
Hope Lodge is a non-medical facility. Patients requiring skilled nursing care are not eligible to stay unless otherwise approved.
If medical assistance is required, the ambulance service will be required to provide transportation to the emergency room.
Cancer patients staying at Hope Lodge must be 18 years old or older.
Family members of cancer patients may stay cost-free at Hope Lodge if rooms are available.
First priority will be cancer patients receiving outpatient cancer treatment such as radiation, chemotherapy