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Couple pitches in to help Hope Lodge Kansas City's Shave to Save 2024

Posted: 2:50 PM, Apr 26, 2024
Updated: 2024-04-26 21:52:54-04
Stu and Erin Duncan.png

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s almost like the start of a bad joke.

A man walks into a dental office, as Stu and Erin Duncan explain.

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“Yeah, he’s been sleeping with his dental hygienist for 43 years,” Erin Duncan says while laughing.

The Duncan’s have at least one more item to cross off their bucket list – plans to go across the pond.

erin and Stu Duncan.HEIC

“Scotland is first,” Stu Duncan says.

“Cause he’s a Duncan, but I’m a Riley,” Erin saids. “So, we have to get Scotland and Ireland together.”

"My ancestors left Scotland ahead of their murderous relatives to Ireland, and then they got ran out of Ireland later.," Stu says. "We’re kind of like vagabonds. Not sure where we came from.”

Before they cross that trip off the list, they have a more pressing one, which is only a half hour from their grandchildren, but miles away from where they expected.

The roadmap to that trip hit a speed bump for Stu Duncan in January 2023.

“My doctor pulled some blood and said your anemic,” Stu recalls. “'We’re going to look further into this. And he said, 'This isn’t right.' Then he sent me to the oncologist, and zib, zab, zoom. I find out I have myelitis.”

Stu says it would’ve grown to full blown leukemia without a bone marrow transplant. The closest treatment center was hours away from home at the University of Kansas Health System.

“You’re going to have to stay within 30 minutes of the hospital for 100 days,” Erin Duncan explains. “So that means, hotel, AirBnb, whatever. But they said there is Hope Lodge.”

Karol Iser is the senior manager at Hope Lodge Kansas City.

“It’s important for people to realize that we have this available for guests who travel to Kansas City for treatment. This is a big thing,” she said.

Iser is a cancer survivor herself. Years ago, she needed a treatment and place to stay.

“It’s bad enough you get a cancer diagnosis. Now you find out your best hope for survival is in another state," she remembers.

More than 1,800 guests stayed at the Hope Lodge KC in 2023, saving families more than $3 million in lodging and food expenses.

“It’s a good support group everywhere and it’s a financial blessing for us too,” Erin Duncan explains.

“Cancer is a huge disruptor of the flow of life,” Stu added. “And it’s just a good place to be. You’ve got people sharing some of the same things.”

None of this is possible without the community’s generosity. Because of your help, the Duncan’s will make that trip to Ireland. They hope to do so in 2026 and will no doubt be as giddy as they were when they met 43 years ago.

“He was standing in the kitchen, frying chicken,” Erin recalls that first encounter with her future husband. “With cowboy boots and cutoff shorts on, and uh, a couple of weeks later, my friend said you (Stu) ought to take Erin out and he did. And where did we go,” Erin asks Stu. “Pink Panther, Double Feature, Fox Theater across from White Lakes.”

For more info on the KC Hope Lodge and how you can help, click here.