Sermons, photographed by Joe Ellis.

Written by Laney Lenox

Linda Sermons has a passion for people and serving her community.

As the manager of the newly opened American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Fondren, her passions come to life working to foster a sense of community and provide long-term care with a sense of home for those with cancer.

The Hope Lodge provides a free place to stay for both the patient and their caregiver, relieving the economic burden for those seeking cancer treatment away from home.

Originally from Westchester, New York, Sermons was raised by her Mississippi-native grandparents and spent summers in the state throughout her childhood. Her family relocated to Mississippi when Sermons was a teenager. She attended and graduated from Murrah High School.

In 2004, work opportunities led her to move back to New York. However, she moved back to Jackson in 2014, deciding that she wanted to settle in Mississippi and once again call it home.

“The thing I like most about working in Jackson is the people. Mississippians have really learned to take care of their own. Life in Jackson is focused on its rich history (both positive and negative) and moving forward for the better. William Faulkner says it best, ‘To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.’”

Sermons believes that Mississippi’s focus on understanding and coming to terms with its history while working towards a brighter future is reflected in the Fondren community itself.

“I love that Fondren offers a community that celebrates history with a splash of modern flair. I really appreciate the vast range of diversity this community offers.”

Two years ago, Sermons began working in the American Cancer Society’s local corporate office. Her work there fed her passion for people and serving her community. She worked with the local community for 12 years to raise funds to open the local Hope Lodge, providing a space of dignity and sharing the Mississippi community spirit with those in need.

When asked what she focuses on in her work, she said: “I think I bring a sense of respect and kindness. The Hope Lodge program provides access to care by providing free lodging, from two nights to six months or more. While our guests are here in the facility, this is their home. From the time they check-in they are greeted with a smile and a caring heart.”

Sermons added, “I believe that kindness and respect can change the world and goes a long way to give a little push toward healing.”

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