Cancer patients traveling to Jacksonville-area hospitals for treatment and recovery could soon have a free home away from home during their battle.
It’s an effort that will be helped in large part by an out-of-towner businessman with a history of giving.
The American Cancer Society announced Wednesday a $19.2 million capital campaign to build and operate a Hope Lodge in Jacksonville on the campus of Mayo Clinic. Half of that will come from a sole source.
The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has pledged $9.6 million toward the project. Schulze, founder of consumer electronics giant Best Buy, said during the announcement it’s a cause that’s been dear to him since his late wife battled cancer when they traveled from Minneapolis to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for her treatment.
The Jacksonville facility will have 32 private rooms, along with community areas where guests can connect with one another. Lodging will be free for patients and their caregivers and benefit those who have traveled for treatments at Baptist Health, Mayo Clinic, St. Vincent’s Healthcare, UF Health and other Northeast Florida facilities.
There are 31 other Hope Lodge facilities in the U.S., with two in Florida in Gainesville and Tampa.
The capital campaign for the Jacksonville facility will go through 2017, with construction and completion scheduled for 2018.