When Alan arrived at Olive McMahon Lodge in Toowoomba on a crisp autumn day in May, he was coping with a difficult situation. His wife Glenice had been rushed to hospital after experiencing a sudden relapse. Alan knew about the lodge – he and Glenice had cause to stay several years earlier. Now, here he was with very little notice, in need of Cancer Council Queensland’s (CCQ) support once more.
For two weeks, Alan was able to stay at the lodge and visit Glenice daily as her body responded to treatment and her strength returned. He made great use of the lodge community kitchen – cooking his meals just as he would prepare them at home and saving a great deal of money by not having to eat out or buy takeaway. He would always pop into Reception to say ‘hello’ and share a little about how his day was going.
After two weeks, Glenice was able to leave hospital and travel home. A week later, Alan and Glenice visited the lodge to drop off a beautiful homemade thank you card with a letter, saying “We appreciate what Cancer Council Queensland does for the sick and the carers. You have no idea what this means to us in our times of sickness and treatments”. Alan felt at home at the lodge and grateful for the welcome he received, where staff are aware and sensitive to the unique situation cancer patients and their families find themselves in.
CCQ’s accommodation lodges aim to provide guests with a home-away-from-home, supported experience and that perfectly describes Alan’s sentiments about his stay.
“This (the lodge) was made by the staff and Cancer Council to be a home away from home, under the most trying circumstances a person would ever have to face in their lives. I cannot thank the staff enough,” said Alan.
Since this article was written, Glenice has sadly passed away from T-Cell Lymphoma. Alan wanted to share their story in the hopes that others would find the support they need from the CCQ lodges.
About Cancer Council Queensland’s Accommodation Lodges
Olive McMahon Lodge in Toowoomba is one of six accommodation lodges located around Queensland, including: Marylin Mayo Lodge in Cairns, Gluyas Rotary Lodge in Townsville, Central Queensland Cancer Support Centre in Rockhampton, Charles Wanstall Apex Lodge in Herston (Brisbane) and Ellis Lodge in South Brisbane.
Each CCQ lodge provides either self-contained units or motel style rooms, with access to a community kitchen, community lounge, games room, laundry facilities and outdoor recreation area. Cancer Support and Information staff are available to assist lodge guests.
Each lodge also provides courtesy transport for guests to their treatment facility. Sometimes having to drive to treatment centres can be very tiring and can even be a cause of anxiety for some patients, who don’t feel comfortable driving outside their known environment. Often, the family car is needed back home, or patients arrive by plane or bus. CCQ’s Transport to Treatment drivers are understanding and caring, and play a very important role.
It takes teamwork to support the cancer community, and CCQ’s Cancer Support and Information staff and volunteers are focussed and dedicated to that purpose. To find out more, visit www.cancerqld.org.au/get-support/ or call 13 11 20.