Coronavirus Pandemic: 26 cancer patients in Jacksonville forced to find new place to live

Coronavirus Pandemic: 26 cancer patients in Jacksonville forced to find new place to live

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Twenty-six cancer patients staying at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge near the Mayo Clinic are now forced to find a new place to live. The ACS announced it’s closing the Hope Lodge because of the coronavirus.

The Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen, ACS said it’s been forced to make the very difficult decision to suspend operations for our Hope Lodge program.

American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Statement:

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"The continued escalation of the COVID-19 threat nationwide has made it clear that we will soon reach a point where we cannot meet the standard of ensuring a safe and healthy environment. We greatly value and rely on our Hope Lodge volunteers and staff. Many are understandably concerned about inadvertently exposing patients to additional risk, leading to fewer people being able to help out at the Hope Lodge.

"A growing number of states have made shelter-in-place mandates. Our teams are not considered essential health care workers and therefore not exempt from the guidance provided by local authorities.

"We are taking action now to prepare to suspend this service before we reach that point where we cannot provide a safe and healthy environment. We have made the incredibly difficult decision to suspend our Hope Lodge program as of Friday, March 27th until further notice.

"Our main priority now is to help our current guests. We have begun working with guests to find other resources that might be available in the community. These could include alternate lodging programs or helping find assistance to get back home.

“This is a heartbreaking decision for the American Cancer Society and our staff. However, we feel it is the only responsible decision we can make as this pandemic grows. The health of our staff, volunteers and guests surpasses even our will to serve.”

QUICK NOTES:

  • The American Cancer Society confirmed it’s closing the Hope Lodge Program at the Mayo Clinic Friday as the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen.
  • Twenty six cancer patients who are staying at the Hope Lodge now have to find a new place to live during the rest of their treatment.
  • Karen Higgason is battling two different cancers. She’s been at the Hope Lodge since January after undergoing a bone marrow transplant. She said the patients staying at the Hope Lodge are immunocompromised. With the Hope Lodge closing, she said it puts them out of a safe place to live at a high-risk time.
  • In a statement to Action News Jax, the ACS said, “the continued escalation of the COVID-19 threat nationwide has made it clear that we will soon reach a point where we cannot meet the standard of ensuring a safe and healthy environment.”
  • ACS said it was a difficult decision to suspend operations at the Hope Lodge, “This is a heartbreaking decision for the American Cancer Society and our staff. However, we feel it is the only responsible decision we can make as this pandemic grows. The health of our staff, volunteers and guests surpasses even our will to serve.”
  • ACS said it will work with guests to help them find resources that might be available in the community, alternate lodging programs, or helping find assistance to get back home.