Cancer affects people in every community. Living in small centres or rural communities shouldn’t be a barrier to getting cancer care.
The Cancer Society’s Lions Lodge in Hamilton provides a welcoming home away from home for people who need to travel long distances for vital cancer treatment at Waikato Hospital — like Taupō local, Shayne Paterson.
Shayne found out he had bowel cancer in 2018. Like many people diagnosed with cancer, treatment for Shayne meant many weeks of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, followed by surgery.
Making the 300km round trip from Taupō to Hamilton while going through five weeks of daily radiation therapy treatment at Waikato Hospital — and the side effects that go with it — wasn’t manageable.
“It was something that I wasn’t planning on having to cope with. The Lodge saved me from having to travel from Taupō at that time and stage. And the friends I met at the Lodge — the staff, the comradery — helped me at a tough time.”
The Cancer Society’s Lions Lodge on Lake Road in Hamilton has been opening its doors to people with cancer since 2011. There are peaceful views over Hamilton Lake Rotoroa on one side, and views over the city on the other. It’s a prime location to watch hot-air balloons take to the sky on crisp Autumn mornings.
The 55 rooms with ensuites provide a private haven for guests to rest and recover, while the modern lounge areas offer a relaxing and friendly atmosphere where guests can spend time with others going through a similar experience.
They’re some of the features of the Lodge that Shayne appreciated most during his time there.
“I was lucky not to have too many side effects. But the radiation treatment knocked a few patients around. Being able to return after treatment to the Lodge where you could just relax — if you were tired, you could sleep, or you could talk with a few of the others — made life a lot more bearable.
“I made some really good friendships with other guests — I’m still in contact with some of them.
“The fact out-of-towners can be there, in an environment with others in the same predicament and share experience with new guests, while old ones gave tips on things that helped them through the process — I found it really helped me through treatment.”
Accommodation and meals at the Lodge are free for guests, reducing some of the financial burden and stress at what can be a tough time. And the shuttle service which takes guests to their appointments means there’s no need to find or pay for parking at the busy hospital.
The support on offer is all designed to ensure guests focus on what matters most — getting well.
“What the facility provides is magnificent,” says Shayne. “And you don’t have to find anything yourself to contribute towards that.”
Even so, Shayne’s been a vocal supporter of the Lodge and a keen fundraiser ever since his stay, participating in the Cancer Society’s Relay For Life fundraiser as a member of the Lodge’s Hikoi of Hope team.
About Cancer Society’s Lions Lodge
The Lodge is a welcoming home away from home, providing free accommodation and meals for people who need to travel long distances for vital cancer treatment at Waikato Hospital.
In 2021, the Lodge celebrated its tenth anniversary.
In its first ten years, the Lodge has provided:
- 106,424 nights’ accommodation
- 319,272 nutritious meals served to guests
- 34,320 return trips to Waikato Hospital in the Lodge shuttle
Learn more about the Lodge’s accommodation.
The friends I met at the Lodge — the staff, the comradery — helped me at a tough time.Shayne Paterson