A home away from home during a difficult time for residents across B.C. is being celebrated at the Southern Interior Rotary Lodge.
The lodge marks 15 years of providing accommodation for cancer patients who must travel for cancer treatments.
“Cancer is a life-changing event, and when families are faced with this difficult journey, anything we can do to help makes a big difference,” said Steve Thomson, Kelowna-Mission MLA.
“This facility provides a supportive and compassionate environment,and we are proud to be celebrating 15 years of caring today.”
The lodge is operated by the Canadian Cancer Society and offers a home away from home to patients receiving cancer care and treatment at the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior. Patients and families have easy access to staff for support and information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Having support and a home away from home while undergoing treatment is one less thing for families and patients to worry about,” said Norm Letnick, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA.
“Thank you to the lodge staff who have helped welcome thousands of patients and families into a comfortable, secure environment over the past 15 years.”
The Southern Interior Rotary Lodge offers a variety of amenities, from air conditioned rooms to a dining room, ample garden space, activity room and library.
Freemason drivers are available to transport guests to and from cancer treatments.
A wig bank, breast prosthesis bank and healing touch sessions are also available for guests.
In addition, Look Good Feel Better workshops, which teach beauty techniques to patients, are held three times per month.
During a celebration event at the lodge, the Canadian Cancer Society recognized a substantial donation from Alex and Rae Hanson.
The Kelowna-based couple was married for more than 60 years before the death of Alex in 2001 and Rae earlier this year. The Hansons left the bulk of their estate to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Southern Interior Rotary Lodge and a new garden sculpture on the grounds of the lodge will commemorate the couple and their generosity.
“When someone is faced with a cancer diagnosis, the last thing they want to worry about is where to stay during their treatment,” said Barbara Kaminsky, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society in B.C.
“The Southern Interior Rotary Lodge has spent the last 15 years providing comfort, peace of mind and a safe, supportive environment to individuals when they need it the most.
“We think that is something for us all to be proud of, and we’re so grateful for the support the lodge has received from the community over the last 15 years.”
The lodge is one of four Canadian Cancer Society lodges located across British Columbia.
The Southern Interior Rotary Lodge is located next to the Kelowna General Hospital and the Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior.
Lodge guests have access to the close proximity to cancer treatment along with the opportunity to meet and share experiences with others who have cancer.
“Supporting the Southern Interior Rotary Lodge was tremendously important to the Hansons,” said George Johnson, a long-time friend of the Hanson family and executor of Rae’s will.
“They believed that any individual facing a cancer diagnosis should be able to find respite while staying in a home-like environment during their treatment, even if they had to travel far from home.
“The lodge was that place for the Hansons, and I know they would like it to continue to provide this invaluable service for decades to come.”