60 hats to the Hope Lodge in Rochester

“These are beautiful hats,” said Rochester Hope Lodge volunteer Dixie as she looked through the two boxes we dropped off there on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

Dixie is one of the 40 active volunteers who help keep the Hope Lodge running. She is there once every week, no fail. Volunteers do everything from running the front office, giving tours, making beds, doing laundry, gardening, making dinners, and being a support system for guests. Many of the volunteers at the Hope Lodge are cancer survivors.

There are 12 staff at the Hope Lodge, under the management of Jammie McGuire. According to the web site, “The staff at the Hope Lodge has a very important job. They are all very well rounded, compassionate, and always willing to lend a hand. Most guests and staff form special bonds during their time here, by eating dinner together, doing puzzles, or offering a shoulder to lean on when needed.”

As Jammie looked through our donation, she said, “Your hats are so nice!”

She added, “There seems to be no shortage of people needing hats.”

Jammie herself gave us a tour of the Rochester Hope Lodge during our visit there. She told us that the average stay at the facility is 26-28 days. There is such a demand for the rooms that the average waiting time is between 7-10 days. (In comparison, there is not typically a wait at the Minneapolis location.) An addition in 2007 was made in order to help alleviate the wait, but even 60 rooms isn’t enough.

“We are always full, and we always have a wait list,” said Jammie.

The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge of Rochester, Minn., opened its doors in 1999 with 28 rooms available to those patients receiving cancer treatments at the Mayo Clinic. In June of 2007, it was renamed the Sandra J. Schulze American Cancer Society Hope Lodge and was expanded to 60 rooms to meet the growing need of housing for cancer patients and their caregiver.

Guests stay for free at the Hope Lodge, as long as they live 40 miles away from the Mayo. It is a three-block walk to the Mayo, and there is a free shuttle provided by the Mayo that runs between the Hope Lodge, the Ronald McDonald House and the Gift of Life Transplant house.


- 60 private guest rooms with two beds, bathroom, telephone, internet access
- Eight fully equipped kitchens where guests prepare their own meals
- Three large community dining rooms
- Eight television lounges, two libraries, meditation room, fitness room, game room, and three outdoor patios
- On site laundry facilities
- Registered Guests are offered a personal web site that helps them communicate with family and friends during and after their stay. Options include a photo album, personal recipe book and visitor guest book.
- Free membership during their stay at the YMCA.
Most of the hats at the Rochester Hope Lodge have been made by one woman who has donated 1,800 hats over four years.

There are a number of intimate living rooms at the lodge.

The library

The Library

There are 8 kitchens for guests to use.

There's a grilling space outside.

A VCR library

The laundry room also has a sewing machine

There's a fitness room, but it doesn't get used much as guests are given free passes to the local YMCA.

Games and puzzles

Another intimate living room. According to Jammie, the place comes alive in the evenings.

While staying at the Hope Lodge with her husband, an artist offered to paint a mural in the kids toy area.

Cars in the parking lot at the Hope Lodge had license plates from Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri and Illinois.

411 Second Street NW
Rochester, MN 55901
507-529-4673 or 800-227-2345

The Schulze family donated funds to both the Minneapolis and Rochester Hope Lodges in memory of Sandra Schulze. She was the wife of Best Buy founder Richard Schulze.

Sandra was a woman you would never forget once you met her. She was Sandy to everyone and she never forgot a face. Her warm smile, compassionate manner, wise eyes and gentle touch always let you know she was listening and interested in you. She made you feel special.

The Sandra J. Schulze Hope Lodge, a concept of the American Cancer Society, is the outcome of the generosity of the citizens of Rochester, the compassion shown by the Mayo Foundation and the Schulze family. It is a true partnership of caring and a perfect reflection of Sandy’s special way of helping others cope with the treatments needed to battle this difficult disease.

Sandy was born in Hopkins, Minnesota on December 11th, 1940 and lived most of her life in Minnesota. She earned her Associates Degree from the University of Minnesota and married Richard Schulze on June 2nd, 1962. Sandy had four children and five grandchildren when she passed away on June 21st, 2001 of Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos.

Click here to read more about Sandra J. Schulze.


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