Thanks to a successful Edmond business leader, the American Cancer Society (ACS) broke ground in March on Oklahoma’s first Hope Lodge. The $16.7 million facility will offer cancer patients and their caregivers free lodging while they travel to receive care from medical centers in the greater Oklahoma City area. The Hope Lodge is named in recognition of ACS’s capstone donor, Chad Richison, the CEO of Paycom who donated $5 million. Located at 800 NE 7th St near the University of Oklahoma’s Stephenson Cancer Center, the Chad Richison Hope Lodge will serve as a home away from home for patients and their families. Richison is an advocate for the good work that ACS does.
“This is a personal cause for many, including myself, and helps ensure anyone traveling for treatment will have one less item to worry about,” Chad said. “This is a much-needed facility, and I’m pleased to be able to support the American Cancer Society’s vision to build it here in the heart of Oklahoma City.”
Each year, approximately 3,700 cancer patients travel to receive potentially life-saving cancer treatment in Oklahoma City. Often, patients and their families spend significant time away from their homes. The emotional and financial toll from the loss of income, medical bills, hotel rooms, and dining out can be staggering. Once the doors are opened in 2022, the Chad Richison Hope Lodge will provide more than 14,600 nights of free lodging annually. The facility will include 34 private guest suites, each with separate beds and a private bathroom. In addition, the facility will feature common living areas, a dining room, laundry facilities, a library, a recreation room, and an outdoor garden. Patients and their caregivers will also have access to ACS programs and services, including free transportation to all cancer treatment centers in Oklahoma City.
According to Jeff Fehlis, the executive vice president for the ACS, the new facility is yet another way to fulfill the nonprofit organization’s mission in Oklahoma.
“The American Cancer Society is committed to breaking down the access to care barriers that many cancer patients face when they travel away from home for treatment,” said Chad. “Thanks to the generosity of community partners and individuals like Mr. Richison who have stepped up to help with this project, we will soon be able to provide a free home away from home for cancer patients, allowing them to focus on what’s important—getting well.”
The ACS Hope Lodge capital campaign is led by Chairman Scott Meacham and Chair Emeritus Gene Rainbolt. The campaign has surpassed its fundraising goal with extraordinary support from generous individuals and organizations, especially Richison as the capstone donor.
Other major donors included the Presbyterian Health Foundation; Chickasaw Nation; Penny L. Norman Estate; E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation; The J. E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, Inc.; Charles and Peggy Stephenson Foundation; and the University of Oklahoma. The ACS continues to seek philanthropic support for ongoing operating expenses. It operates more than 30 Hope Lodge facilities nationwide. Since 1970, the ACS has provided more than 6 million nights of lodging to patients across the country. To make a donation or learn more, contact Michelle Fair, the director of philanthropy for the ACS, at Michelle.Fair@cancer.org or visit their website.
About the American Cancer Society
The ACS is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research to free lodging near treatment, an always-live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the ACS is the only organization attacking cancer from every angle. For more information, visit www.cancer.org.
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About Josh Watson
Josh Watson is a freelance writer, public relations consultant, and tenured associate professor of communication at Oklahoma Christian University. He advises OC’s student-run PR firm, Eagle PR, and the university’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter. Previously, he worked on award-winning state and national campaigns at McNeely Pigott & Fox in Nashville, one of the nation's top independent PR firms. Dr. Watson has helped his students earn numerous awards and recognitions, especially in national campaign competitions. His wife, Chara, teaches speech and theater at Oklahoma Christian Academy, where their four children attend.