Wild about Hope: Local women’s club contributes to American Cancer Society Hope Lodge
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2016
In June, Darlene Adams of Picayune relinquished her duties as State President of the Greater Federation of Women’s Club – Mississippi Federation of Women’s Club.
During her two-year tenure as state president, Adams was able to garner support and contributions for a project near and dear to her heart, the construction of an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Jackson.
There are 65 clubs in Mississippi with more than 1,000 members, Adams said.
The GFWC’s main purpose is to improve communities through volunteerism, the GFWC’s website states.
During their term, each president selects a President’s Special Project, Adams said. Throughout her two years, women’s club members collected monetary donations and volunteered many hours to Adams’ project.
“I chose the American Cancer Society,” she said. “Cancer is getting too common and too many of us have a cancer story.”
Adams’ family, like so many others, did not escape the grasp of this often deadly disease. Her father died from cancer at the age of 57 and her sister fought a brave battle with breast cancer, one she lost last year, Adams said.
“She was diagnosed in her early 30s,” she said. “It returned 12 years later and showed up in her lungs at stage two and quickly advanced to stage four. She was a guinea pig for every new research treatment and having six kids, she withstood it all. She was the true survivor and fought it to the end. Everyone has a story, there are too many going around and something has to be done.”
The majority of the women’s clubs donations went towards the construction of Hope Lodge.
According to www.cancer.org, Hope Lodge provides cancer patients and their families “a free place to stay when their best hope for treatment may be in another city.”
There are more than 30 Hope Lodges throughout the United States and eligibility requirements may vary by location, the website states.
This will be the first Hope Lodge built in Mississippi, Adams said. It’s an important place for cancer patients and caregivers, she added.
“Women across the state banded together and came up with innovative ways to raise funds,” Adams said. “I traveled throughout the state speaking with clubs about the project.”
She also created a logo to go along with her project, which states, “Let’s Get Wild to Finish the Fight.”
Locally, members of the GFWC/MFWC Civic Women’s Club of Picayune participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life events in Pearl River County in honor of fellow member and educator Vera Beech. Group members made candied apples and peppered jellies and also sold T-shirts. They held Bunco fundraisers and several ladies made and donated decorative hats to cancer patients. Other hats were raffled to raise more money for Hope Lodge, Adams said.
During Adams’ first year as president, Mississippi club members completed 142 projects, contributed 4,738 volunteer hours, raised more than $39,000 in donations and received more than $32,000 in in-kind donations, Adams said.
The GFWC/MFWC Juniorettes also contributed volunteer hours to the project, Adams said.
A plaque will be placed on the first guest room at Hope Lodge and will state, “GFWC-Mississippi of Federation of Women’s Clubs, Inc. President’s Special Project Darlene C. Adams, State President 2014-2016.”
“We have more than 15 members across the state who have passed away from or are battling cancer,” Adams said. “Hope Lodge is our dream come true. It’s bad enough to have chemotherapy and travel many miles away. Too many of our families are doing that on a daily basis.”
Learn more about the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge at http://www.cancer.org/treatment/supportprogramsservices/hopelodge/.