Volunteer from Kula works to get Hope Lodge Hawai‘i built

Cori Pohle of Kula has covered lots of miles for the American Cancer Society.

As a Road to Recovery volunteer, Pohle donates her time transporting cancer patients to treatment through the American Cancer Society’s program that often makes the difference in whether people complete treatments as physicians prescribe.

Among the people she drove was her own son, Charlie, when he battled cancer. Through those trips she learned about the planned Hope Lodge Hawai’i, a facility that will offer free guest rooms for those completing treatment. This Hope Lodge, to be located in Honolulu, will be the 33rd in the Hope Lodge network operated by the American Cancer Society across the U.S. Because of Charlie, Pohle knew from personal experience how needed such a facility is.

“Our 36-year-old son has been under treatment for a desmoid tumor for 20-plus years, and a facility like Hope Lodge would have been very helpful when we had to travel for treatment,” Pohle said.

By offering free lodging, it is estimated that Hope Lodge in Honolulu will result in more than $1.3 million in savings to cancer patients from Neighbor Islands per year. Twenty guest rooms, each with a private bath and its own TV, will result in close to 7,300 free room-nights per year.

The price tag for this yet-to-be-constructed facility is a hefty $11.6 million. A campaign Cabinet, co-chaired by Lawrence Tseu and James K. Schuler, is leading the fundraising effort, along with Cathy Alsup, American Cancer Society director of major gifts campaign.

Knowing how important Hope Lodge could be to families dealing with cancer, Pohle set out to do all she could to get the facility built. First, she hosted a social event for her circle of friends to educate them about the need for a Hope Lodge in Hawaii, but she didn’t stop there.

Pohle called her other son, Kimo Winterbottom. Winterbottom, a New Jersey resident, didn’t let the distance of a few thousand miles stop him from helping his mother’s cause. He quickly used his connections and secured a $20,000 grant from the J. C. Kellogg Foundation dedicated to Hope Lodge Hawai’i.

“The American Cancer Society is grateful not only for this generous donation from the J. C. Kellogg Foundation, but also to Cori Pohle for her resourcefulness,” Alsup said. “Teamwork on a common goal as important as Hope Lodge will bring great results to help cancer survivors in Hawaii.”

With this gift, the American Cancer Society is now closer to building Hope Lodge Hawai’i, the home-away-from-home for cancer survivors.

Planned are a fully equipped kitchen, laundry rooms, a resource library with Internet connections, an activity room, an outdoor patio and a healing garden. Again, distance to treatment will not be a problem, because free daily transportation will be offered to and from Honolulu’s treatment centers.

Further donations are welcome. Contact Alsup at cathy.alsup@cancer.org for more information.