Construction of Daffodil Place, an expanded Lodge That Gives in Halifax, is expected to begin later this year.
AMHERST – Construction of expanded lodging for cancer patients in Halifax should begin this summer.
Darren Dick, major gifts chairman for the Daffodil Place capital campaign, told members of the Amherst Rotary Club on Monday that the capital campaign has surpassed the 97 per cent mark and officials are giving the green light to beginning construction.
“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have received some substantial gifts so that now, three-and-a-half years after we began and after a lot of hard work we are at the point where we can begin construction,” Dick said. “We’re finalizing the design and meeting with architects and the construction team and hope to break ground very soon.”
The campaign is still about $500,000 short of its goal, and Dick said the campaign team is committed to raising the remaining money so the support component and the endowment funds can be fully supported.
Once construction is completed after eight to 10 months, Daffodil Place will enhance the existing Lodge That Gives on South Street in Halifax. The expansion will include increasing the compliment of rooms to about 60 while reconfiguring the existing rooms in the lodge.
Dick said the reason for the expansion is quite simple – more cancer patients across the province are requesting a room and the lodge has reach capacity and has to turn people away on many occasions.
“To cancer patients, the lodge is more than a bed or a meal, it’s their home,” he said. “The living room looks like their living room at home and the bedrooms look like their bedrooms at home. It’s not institutional at all and we want people who come here to feel at ease.”
Along with providing more rooms, the expansion will see diversified room types allowing for barrier-free, private and family bedrooms. There will be a larger dining room, exercise room, multipurpose space, expanded gathering places, a computer room and quiet space.
The project also includes the creation of a cancer prevention centre and expanded supportive care programming.
More than a place to stay, Dick said, the facility is also a strong support network for cancer patients, who often interact with others going through the same experience.
He said approximately 1,200 patients use the lodge every year and statistics show that six per cent of these – or about 100, are from Cumberland County. He said the numbers here impacted by the area’s proximity to Moncton and some cancer patients get their treatment there as opposed to going to Halifax.
Dick said Cumberland County residents have been very supportive of the campaign. Many have made donations to the effort, including the John and Judy Bragg Foundation that gave $500,000.
Rotarian Morris Haugg has seen the value of the lodge up close. He said he stayed at the lodge when his wife was undergoing radiation treatment in Halifax and he saw how it provided not only lodging for cancer patients, but a big support network.
“It’s a very special place that supports people through a tough time in their life,” Haugg said.
To support the campaign, go to http://daffodilplace.com .