GRAND RAPIDS - It's a place that will become a home away from home for those coming to Grand Rapids for cancer treatment. The grand opening of the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge, located at 129 Jefferson SE happened Thursday afternoon.
One Grand Rapids couple we spoke with tells us they plan on spending a lot of time here because of a similar journey they took before.
As Jennifer Gould walked through the new Grand Rapids facility, she turned to her husband and said, "The memories are definitely coming back." Jennifer and Chad Gould are getting a tour of a place they're somewhat familiar with. As Jennifer explained, "It was a complete blessing. The day we moved in... It was remarkable to walk in there and have a home."
Four years ago, about a year and a half into their marriage, Chad was diagnosed with cancer.
"I have a skin cancer that metastasized so it's kind of moved into my body, so I was a stage 3 cancer patient," said Chad. "And now I'm doing really well and they're surprised I'm still here and I think going to a place like Hope Lodge it's a turning point for people."
After spending two weeks in a hotel during treatment in Cleveland, the young couple learned about Hope Lodge; a place offering free unlimited lodging, transportation, and support for cancer patients and their caregivers.
Jennifer said, "I was kind of going through the journal I was writing and the last thing I had written in there was how thankful I was that we had gotten the opportunity to be in Cleveland and to stay in the Hope Lodge. I don't think we could've made it."
Chad agreed, adding that the Hope Lodge is really a home of hope. A place where people will often gather around the kitchen table to share stories and strength to get through the tough times. “Cancer is not a death sentence. You are going to live through cancer treatment and a place like this will help you live and get that quality of life back so that you can heal and move on," said Chad.
Volunteers are always needed and the Goulds say they plan on doing a lot of volunteering at the Grand Rapids Hope Lodge.