American Cancer Society Hope Lodge

Whether through Suzanne Citron’s various volunteer activities or the Charles Lafitte Foundation’s five-year grant in support of the Eastern Division Pain Initiative, CLF has been a long-time supporter of the American Cancer Society (ACS).

So when Suzanne and Jeffrey learned that the ACS was looking to build a Hope Lodge in Manhattan and was searching for financial support, they were determined that CLF help. The ACS Hope Lodges provide free, temporary housing and support for cancer patients who are undergoing treatment at nearby facilities. Currently, there are nearly 30 Hope Lodge facilities throughout the United States.

“When they said that they were interested in opening a facility in New York and making it their central headquarters, I thought that would be a fantastic idea,” Jeffrey said. “New York has some of the best and most sophisticated cancer treatment centers in the country. I was surprised that there wasn’t already a Hope Lodge in Manhattan. I thought it would be one of the first places to build one.”

After following the project for more than a year, CLF donated $1 million to Manhattan Hope Lodge, which opened its doors on West 32nd Street this past summer. The grant will fund the facility’s communal kitchen over the next five years. Stefanie Diamond, communications and marketing project manager, American Cancer Society, Eastern Division, explained that The Charles Lafitte Foundation Kitchen would provide a place for guests to congregate in a comfortable environment reminiscent of home.

“A kitchen is the centerpiece in many family’s homes,” Stefanie said. “It brings people together, provides comfort and support, and a sense of family – something that those who have to leave their homes to undergo treatment really need.”

Both Suzanne and Jeffrey have personally seen the effects that having to travel for
medical treatment can have on an individual and their family, as several of their relatives have battled cancer.

“Facilities like Hope Lodge are so important,” Suzanne said. “Cancer treatment takes such a toll, both physically and emotionally, you need support, and no one should have to go through it alone.”

The Manhattan Hope Lodge is currently providing both patients and caregivers with a supportive environment, educational services, a 24-hour toll-free call center and Web site with comprehensive on-site libraries to help them make informed medical decisions.