Image: Mike Evans

Image: Mike Evans

An American Cancer Society project to make life easier for families facing cancer treatment just got a major boost.

The Mississippi Hope Lodge, a $10 million undertaking set to be constructed on property owned by the University of Mississippi Medical Center (the former site of Schimmel’s restaurant,) has received a $3 million gift from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation.

“With this gift we will have reached beyond the half way point the completion of our project,” said Trustmark Bank CEO Jerry Host.

“This building is right here, among the hospitals,” said John C. Lewis with the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation. “We have a great relationship with the local hospitals here. We have a relationship with people across the state but this place will serve many, many people across this fine state and we’re very proud.”

Other Hope Lodges located throughout the region are in New Orleans, Birmingham, Memphis and Nashville. In 2012, 255 Mississippi families used facilities in the mid-south division for a total of 3,782 nights of stay provided. Hope Lodges across the country provided nearly 262,000 nights of stay at no cost, saving cancer patients and their families more than $26 million dollars. There are 31 similar Hope Lodges nationwide.

“It saves these patients over 38 million dollars in lodging costs,” said Kelly Doss, Executive Vice President of the Mid-south Division of the American Cancer Society. What we know about cancer treatment is that the ability of the patients to access their care, which means having a place to stay when they travel away from home, is critically important to getting a good diagnosis on the cancer treatment,”

Construction is slated to start within the next twelve months.