GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The holidays are a time to be home with family, but for some people in the fight of their lives, that's just not possible. However, there is hope for them in Grand Rapids at the Hope Lodge.
Charlene Dibble has had plenty of time lately to play the piano. The keys help her connect to a comfortable place. A place that is so important for anyone fighting cancer.
Charlene says, "It's almost like a crushing load that's very difficult to bear."
Dibble was diagnosed with breast cancer several months ago. She says, "It's quite devastating because you always think it's going to happen to someone else."
Dibble has been undergoing treatment for the past month in Grand Rapids. Which is eight and a half hours away from the Upper Peninsula home she shares with her husband Sam.
Sam Dibble says, "Coming to an area that we're not too familiar with and accommodation was a great concern." Where would they stay? A hotel for a month? Imagine that expense.
Then, they found hope, the Hope Lodge. It's a free home away from home for people undergoing cancer treatments in Grand Rapids.
It's not a hotel atmosphere, it's a home atmosphere with a friendly, helpful staff.
Community groups bring in meals and other volunteers and patients provide priceless moral support.
The Dibble's say, "When the pressure's on with the illness and your partner's not feeling well, having those things taken care of, just makes a huge difference."
A difference of extra hope, and positive notes, at a time when they've never been needed more.
The American Cancer Society runs the Grand Rapids Hope Lodge. It is close to cancer centers and other hospitals in West Michigan. Hope Lodge celebrated its fifth year in Grand Rapids this year.