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Coronavirus forces suspension of program helping cancer patients, caregivers

Hope Lodge.jpg
Posted at 6:11 AM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 08:28:26-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — COVID-19 is forcing cancer patients and their caregivers who rely on a free place to stay to find somewhere else.

American Cancer Society announced they were suspending their Hope Lodge program because of the novel coronavirus.

Hope Lodge provides free lodging for cancer patients undergoing treatment, as well as their caregivers.

The American Cancer Society called the decision to suspend the program heartbreaking, but added it was done as a precautionary measure to keep patients, caregivers and staff safe.

"Cancer patients with a very suppressed immune system, a virus like this can do a lot of damage in a very confined space and as the data showed, the numbers were going to continue to grow across the country obviously, but here in Kansas City, too. We knew we weren't going to be able to keep those patients safe,” explained Matt Martinek with American Cancer Society.

Martinek said hotels have offered to provide free or reduced lodging for cancer patients and their caregivers while the program remains suspended during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the meantime, Hope Lodge is looking forward to reopening is asking people to support an annual fundraiser called Shave to Save. To learn more or donate, visit their website.