JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Carolyn Greer's face lights up when she talks about her granddaughter, Avery.
"Oh, gosh," she says. "She's my only granddaughter. She's adorable. But I'm prejudiced."
Avery calls her Nana. And, for Nana, Avery is the perfect motivation to keep her fighting against breast cancer.
It's a hard fight. Greer doesn't just have to worry about beating breast cancer, but also getting to her treatments. She lives in Georgia, and driving back and forth was not possible.
How many treatments every day was she facing?
"Sixteen of them. That's a lot for me," she says.
But Greer's stay at the Hope Lodge behind Mayo Clinic Jacksonville was a true blessing.
"I don't know if there are words to express it. When you are talking about your life....how do you say that?"
Greer was getting cancer treatment at Baptist/MD Anderson downtown. The Hope Lodge provided free transportation back and forth all that distance for Greer.
The Hope Lodge, supported by the American Cancer Society, has 30 cancer patients staying at no charge in their building, which looks brand new.
Michelle Lawrence, senior manager at the Hope Lodge, says, "We don't want it to feel like a hotel." And so the details are carefully planned to take the pressure of daily life off the cancer patients.
Greer was impressed. She says, "There was a welcome note with gifts on the bed." Laundry facilities are provided. Each patient has a personal pantry and space in a large kitchen to cook. Volunteers make handmade items and leave special messages.
The challenge, however, is keeping supplied with items offered free to the cancer patients, who come from around the U.S. and other countries, such as Australia and Vietnam, Lawrence explains.
Top of the list of items which are used up quickly: toilet paper.
Lawrence is hoping people will donate some basic items. That can include gas cards because the Hope Lodge, due to Covid, transports only one patient at a time. That means extra trips back and forth to various cancer treatment centers around Jacksonville.
Examples of items on the Hope Lodge wish list:
- Individual coffee creamer
- Cookie sheet
- Paper cups
- Sturdy paper plates
- Paper towels, napkins
- 10-gallon trash bags
- Toilet paper
- Wet and dry Swiffer refills
- Black ink pens
- Gift cards to Walmart, Dollar Tree, Target, etc.
- Gas cards
The Hope Lodge is located on 4583 Worrall Way, Jacksonville, FL 32224
There is a Wish List available on smile.Amazon.
According to the Hope Lodge, these opportunities to help are also available:
- There is a link that donates straight to the Jacksonville Hope Lodge:
- Donate Today | The American Cancer Society
- They have the “Cooking Up HOPE” program, where groups can come and cook a meal, deliver themselves, or have it catered:
- Sign up and onboarding is done through here: Jacksonville Hope Lodge Volunteer Opportunities