Kerry Grassam lives on the outskirts of Taumarunui – 30kms down the Forgotten World Highway. His nearest neighbour is 3km away.
Finding out he had bladder cancer meant regular two and a half hour trips to Hamilton for treatment. Support from the Cancer Society and being able to stay at the Cancer Society’s Lions Lodge made all the difference for Kerry during this difficult time.
“The staff at the Lodge are like my second family – you can’t get any better. Without them it would have been a much harder experience.
“They were strangers – now they’re family. They helped me get through.”
After treatment Kerry can’t drive so he has to stay in Hamilton and he’s found a home away from home at the Lodge. He has high praise for the meals, the service, the facility, staff friendliness and it doesn’t cost him a cent to stay.
“There’s such a warm feeling when you go in – you wouldn’t know it’s for people with cancer. And there’s a marvellous view overlooking Hamilton Lake.”
If the Lodge wasn’t there Kerry would have to stay in a motel.
The Cancer Society's Lions Lodge provides a relaxing and friendly environment for people to enjoy while undergoing cancer treatment.
There is no charge to guests for accommodation or meals as this is partly covered by the National Travel Assistance scheme, with the Cancer Society relying on the generosity of the community to fund the remaining running costs through fundraising, donations and sponsorship.
The Lodge has single rooms with ensuite bathrooms, self-catering twin rooms, as well as family units for guests who need a support person with them.People from Gisborne can stay over the weekend and have their own area.
A free shuttle takes guests to and from their treatment and appointments at the hospital.
Delicious, nutritious meals are provided for guests in the shared dining room.
“Alice, the cook – the meals she puts on - it’s like a five-star hotel. We eat like kings.”
Kerry always takes a bag of carrots or potatoes to help out. “There’s up to 83 people at a time that stay there and there’s always good food.”
“The place is really clean – spick and span,” says Kerry. “And if there’s anything wrong in your room it’s fixed straight away.”
Kerry has accessed other services through the Cancer Society. He says there’s a massage service on site to help with relaxation. He’s attended support groups and Look Good Feel Better workshops.
“Supportive care nurse Vicky and the staff at the Lodge – they helped me get through – I can’t praise them enough.”