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Our HEROs are No. 1 volunteers at Hope Lodge

The American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge not only is a frequent destination for cancer patients who travel to Kansas City for treatment. It's also become a popular way for staff from The University of Kansas Cancer Center and hospital to demonstrate their community support.

As part of the HERO (Hospital Employees Reaching Out) program, at least 100 employees went to Hope Lodge in 2015 to prepare (and clean up!) more than 400 dinners for guests and their families. With their overwhelming support, the cancer center and hospital HEROs were Hope Lodge’s top source of volunteers for the year.

“We couldn’t be more thankful for all you do to make our patients’ stay here comfortable,” said Sarah Freyman, Hope Lodge assistant director. “I know you fight the cancer fight on a daily basis, and taking time after work to also help here is so appreciated.”

She noted some of the volunteer teams show up several times a week, a regularity that is especially unique.

Located at 11th and Pennsylvania in downtown’s Quality Hill District, the facility features 46 guest rooms. It provides free lodging to more than 1,900 patients and caregivers each year.

Volunteering at Hope Lodge-Kansas City is a natural for health system and cancer center staff. “There are always special connections and conversations between our team and guests. It’s very rewarding to come together and share a delicious meal,” said Brian Buckner, clinical projects coordinator for Navigation and Intake. He’s coordinated volunteer efforts to Hope Lodge for several departments, including KUCC’s Radiation Oncology team, Westwood staff and employees from health system inpatient units 41, 42 and 45. 

The Hope Lodge community dining room includes a piano, where our volunteers put their musical skills – or at least musical passion – to good use. Freyman recalls a patient’s eagerness before a visit from one of the cancer center groups. 

“She came up to me one morning and said she was so excited because one of the volunteers was going to play the ukulele that night,” Freyman said. “She said she was going to dress up and all!” 

More about our HEROs
Hope Lodge was one of 14 HERO programs last year. More than 200 employees also volunteered to install smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, fit bicycle helmets on youngsters (through Headstrong for Jake) and paint and repair older homes, among other projects. 

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