Community rallies around Hope Lodge
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield community rallied on July 23 in support of saving the city’s Hope Lodge, which the American Cancer Society (ACS) has shut down.
Nearly 100 community leaders, residents, health care workers and others marched around the Hope Lodge during the noon hour yesterday, and many carried signs that read, “Hope lives here”, “Bring back Hope” and “We believe in Hope”.
Organizer Heather Adler said the rally was aimed at fighting for what she and her supporters say rightfully belongs to the community, and that the decision to close Hope Lodge does not belong to the ACS.
The 22-room Marshfield Hope Lodge was used as a “home away from home” for cancer patients and their families between treatments and doctor visits at the Marshfield Clinic and its medical center. Retired Marshfield Clinic oncologist Dr. William Hocking says those trips take their toll on patients already dealing with fatigue and other side effects of treatment.
Dr. Hocking explains:
The lodge suspended its operations in March due to COVID-19, and announced in late June it would be closing for good. Patients and their families have since been put up at hotels and apartments.
ACS has told local officials they would sell Hope Lodge back to the community for “fair market value,” which they believe to be in the millions, according to clinic officials.
Hope Lodge was originally built for $4 million in 2003 after local fundraising efforts. Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Health donated land plus $1.7 million, while private and corporate fundraising brought in $2.3 million.
In the meantime, clinic officials are in the process of renovating the former House of the Dove Hospice facility adjacent to Hope Lodge, to help meet the needs of patients. That facility has 11 rooms, and Marshfield Clinic hopes to have it ready for patients by Sept. 1.
In the meantime, the Clinic’s Foundation is accepting donations for the project through its Facebook page found under the heading “Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation.”