Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Seeing hope


Last night I joined a group of people from work to host a dinner at Hope Lodge. For those of you who aren't familiar with Hope Lodge, the first was established in Charleston in 1970 by a Holocaust survivor and cancer patient who saw a similar facility while traveling in Australia and New Zealand. I couldn't help but think how it came together that a woman survived the Holocaust, became a doctor, and just "happened" to visit in far away countries from which an idea was formed to bring help and hope.

The concept was to provide a "home away from home" for those individuals and their families who are undergoing treatment for cancer. Nationwide, there are now more than 20 Hope Lodges which are part of a national patient service program run by the American Cancer Society. Last night, as we brought and prepared food for the residents and their caregivers, it was obvious what a Godsend this place is. Not only is it free of charge, but there is a great sense of comraderie and support amongst the patients and staff.

I met so many people who are filled with hope that they will survive. They knew each others' stories, encouraged each other, and were interested in socializing. I talked at length with a man being treated for prostate cancer. He wore a lapel pin that said "Cancer Sucks". He was funny and feisty. No doubt the Christmas decorations throughout the place contributed to the festive atmosphere. After dinner, the Renaissance Ensemble sang traditional English and French Christmas carols and after they sang their repertoire, the rest of us joined them for familiar carols.

Last night was a good reminder to me about how grateful I am to have my health and that there are others struggling with major illnesses that seem as devastating to them as alcoholism does to me. Sometimes I seem to focus so much on alcoholism that I tend to forget that pain and suffering comes in other forms.

17 comments:

  1. So true. You really are alot like your dad. Your sharing and gentle spirit, I'm sure, touched more than a few last night.

    Warm Fuzzies, Syd!

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  2. That reminds me of Ronald McDonald houses for families of sick children. A good cause, indeed!

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  3. How cool is that!
    I used to stay at The Ronald Mc Donald house in Chapel Hill NC when Annie was in the hospital there. It's similar in that it provides a place for families of sick children at the hospital.
    What a wonderful place that was! So full of hope and kindness for you when that's exactly what you need.
    You rock Syd!jeNN

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  4. Thanks for the post.
    Well, as I've heard many times, "We are a Selfish lot" sometimes. We sometimes can only see stuff from out point of view...which isn't always a bad thing, but stepping outside our self is always good!!

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  5. I hope I remember to thank God for my good health every day and remember that there is a purpose and a lesson my sickness can teach me when it's there.

    I also hope I remember those who are less fortunate than I and seek opportunities (as you've taught me) to support them.

    Blessings and aloha...

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  6. I'm glad to hear about Hope Lodge. I've had family and friends battle illnesses worse at times than alcoholism. As a recovering alcoholic, I need to be aware of people worse off than I am, because I have a magical magnifying mind.

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  7. Wonderful post hon! (Hugs)Indigo

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  8. That is a wonderful place. I lost my husband June 1st to cancer. I, too, agree with you. We get so focused on ourselves, recovery or whatever that we tend to forget there are people out their suffering tremendous pain and loss. Makes you count your blessings. Nice post.

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  9. I had never heard of Hope Lodge but it was inspiring to hear about it. You're a good person. Cancer does suck :(

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  10. Grateful for all the things I have and all the things I don't have! What a wonderful way to give back and show your gratitude.

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  11. visiting places like these, does bring gratitude to the fore like nothing else. after all, if they can be happy and celebrate life, why can't we...

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  12. Thanks for always being so wonderfully Syd, Syd.

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  13. great post Syd. As I have said so many times on your blog you seem to read my mind or you are there at the right time.
    There is a guy who is 57, lost his job maybe over 3 years ago, worked once since then, used up his money, and is not really pushing it to look for work.

    Yesterday he was here, whinning feeling sorry for himself as if he was the only one on earth that is in a bad situation,. A kid comes to the door asking for 4 dollars for a few people he had a photo of? Questionable. Our friend says, they should be taking up a collection for me. I lost it totally. I said you got to be kidding, my son's girlfriend's father who had a 6 figure job, lost his second child at 19, he took it hard, drank and drank and had a stroke, now he is using a walker but found a job that he can so at home at his computer 2 days a week, for 8 dollars an hour . I told our friend, I felt sorry you lost your job but you have your health, you are capable to walk, talk, run, take a bus, shovel chit if you have to, now my taxes are paying for your welfare,not a good picture. Sorry I ranted, but this post you did truly shows how some people forget that their are others that are worse of then US, look at the children, they give us HOPE and we learn from them

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  14. I think being involved in other areas of our communities is one of the best things we can do in recovery.

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