Every year in Hawaii, more than 6,000 people are diagnosed with cancer and more than 2,000 will die from the disease. The volunteer-based American Cancer Society (ACS), established a century ago in New York (the Hawaii chapter opened in 1959), seeks to prevent cancer, save lives, diminish suffering and help people fight back against the disease. And now the ACS has a new board chairperson: Democratic state Senator Rosalyn Baker.
The rest of the board includes board president Melvin Paul Palalay, MD; vice chair Steven Ai; vice-president Daryl Kurozawa, MD; past chair Joseph Wikoff, CPA; past president James Grobe, MD; board secretary Carla Nip-Sakamoto, MD; and, board treasurer Michael Chang, MBA.
The ACS also recently announced two new board members: Darcy Endo-Omoto, vice president of government and community affairs at Hawaiian Electric Company and state Senator Joshua Green, MD, representing West Hawaii. Both Endo-Omoto and Green will serve a two-year term on the board.
At the top of the ACS agenda this year is the Hope Lodge, a temporary housing facility for cancer patients and their caregivers on Oahu. The ACS is spearheading the capital campaign of raising $15.5 million needed to fund the projected goal of beginning construction in 2014.
“These are exciting times,” said Baker. “The Society in Hawaii currently helps almost 50 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients. With the planned American Cancer Society’s Clarence T. C. Ching Hope Lodge, we will be able to do more for neighbor island cancer patients. Hope Lodge will provide free lodging in Honolulu for cancer patients.”
Last November, the ACS received $3.5 million from Clarence T. C. Ching Foundation to help fund Hope Lodge. It was the largest donation ever received by ACS Hawaii Pacific. In recognition of this generous gift, Hope Lodge Hawaii will be called the American Cancer Society’s Clarence T. C. Ching Hope Lodge.
Hope Lodge is a free “home away from home” for patients that must travel away from home for cancer treatments. The American Cancer Society’s Clarence T. C. Ching Hope Lodge will provide an estimated 460 area cancer patients and their caregivers up to 6,935 nights of free housing annually. The idea is to reduce the financial and emotional burden of cancer and allow patients to focus on their recovery.
The American Cancer Society’s Clarence T. C. Ching Hope Lodge will be centrally located at 251 Vineyard Street, within six miles of six health care facilities. The 19-room facility will offer guests private rooms and bath, a community kitchen, laundry facility and living area.
“We are so fortunate to have many benefactors in the community who have come forward to support a Hope Lodge in Hawaii,” said Jackie Young, Ph.D., the chief staff officer of the American Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific, Inc. “The Queen’s Medical Center has generously provided us with a long-term lease for this property, and kicked-off this $15.5 million capital campaign with a gala that raised over $546,000 for Hope Lodge. Our entire board of directors are behind this project, knowing that Hope Lodge will significantly help Hawa‘i cancer patients complete their cancer treatment.”
Currently, the American Cancer Society operates 31 Hope Lodges nationwide. But Hawaii has long needed one, since residents often have to fly to Oahu for treatment. Our unique island state presents significant challenges to cancer patients.
“I wish there was a Hope Lodge when I was going through my treatments,” said Kauai resident and breast cancer survivor Susan Oshiro-Taogoshi. She was diagnosed with stage III, triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma.“There is no radiation on Kauai, so I had to fly to Honolulu [every day for six weeks] for treatment. The last two weeks of my treatment, I felt so exhausted, I paid to stay in a hotel so I didn’t have to fly back and forth.”
The American Cancer Society has launched a $15.5 million capital campaign to support Clarence T. C. Ching Hope Lodge. For information or to make a donation, email [email protected] or call 595-7500.