Driving in Southern California can be stressful. Now, imagine having to navigate heavy traffic for several hours a day while you are seriously ill to get medical treatment.
Ivory Payne said he was thankful he did not have to do that, thanks to the American Cancer Society and the generosity of a hotel chain.
Payne was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year and learned that he needed radiation treatment for two and a half months, five days a week.
If that wasn’t stressful enough, he had to drive more than 100 miles round trip to get to his doctor.
“The drive could be three hours or more depending on traffic conditions,” Payne recalled. “My concern was am I going to actually be able to do this?”
So, he called the American Cancer Society, hoping they could help. And they did.
“I was floored. I told them this literally is a godsend.”
The American Cancer Society offers the Hope Lodge program that allows patients to stay for free or at a reduced rate at hotels across the United States so they don’t have to drive far to get treatment.
Currently, there are 31 Hope Lodge locations across the country, according to the organization.
Payne stayed at the Extended Stay America in Burbank. “It became home. The staff just was so welcoming,” he said.
Extended Stay America has donated 100,000 rooms to patients fighting cancer across the United States.
“They come, and they thank us. They send us letters. They send us emails. They hold your hand at the end of it. It makes me emotional because I cry with them,” said the hotel’s general manager Ashe Harji.
Payne is now done with treatment and awaiting results to see if he is in remission. He believes the stress he avoided by staying at the hotel made all the difference.
“This I can say was a part of saving my life,” Payne said.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.