Before my son moved to Iowa City, I pretty much avoided the town 20 miles south of Cedar Rapids. The snarling traffic and confusing streets were enough to keep me away.
However, now that I work there, I’m reminded how important the town is to all of Iowa, if not the world.
I recently acquired a position at the Russell and Ann Gerdin American Society Hope Lodge, located at 750 Hawkins Drive in Iowa City. It sits right next to the Carver-Hawkeye Arena and is within walking distance of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The Hope Lodge houses cancer patients, who are going through treatment, free of charge, for those who live more than 40 miles from the hospital and can’t afford to stay at a hotel. They can bring a caregiver to stay with them while they are there, and transportation is provided by the lodge.
One of my tasks is to drive guests to the cancer center and then drive past the main hospital to see if anyone from the lodge needs a ride back. This happens every hour, on the hour.
I’m amazed at how busy the hospital is; so many people coming and going, buses going in and out, everyone on their own journey, each one hoping that today would be the day they will get some good news for whatever is ailing them.
I like my new job. As soon as I walked through the doors of the lodge, I felt a positive energy that stayed with me the entire day. But the Hope Lodge, which has 28 rooms, is still not big enough for the patients that need rooms while they undergo treatment at the hospital. Nine people remain on the waiting list for a room.
The fact that the lodge is available to cancer patients free of charge may or may not help in their struggle to rid themselves of the disease, but the love and support that is apparent at the lodge, can only help aid in their healing.