A 24-year history with The Lodge That Gives ends on a happy note

Sonya Vardy
Sonya Vardy
It was just as I remembered. The sweet, welcoming volunteers greeted me with open arms.

Sonya Vardy was only 19 when she visited the Nova Scotia Cancer Clinic in Halifax for the first time. Nearly 25 years and several surgeries and rounds of treatment later, Sonya thinks of The Lodge That Gives as a true home away from home. The Lodge provides housing for cancer patients and their families.

In 1990, Sonya, whose family lives in Cape Breton, needed a place to stay while she was undergoing treatment in Halifax for recurring soft tissue tumours. She became one of the first residents of The Lodge, a warm, supportive and comfortable oasis.

I could hear people chatting and laughing, smell the wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen and feel the overall sense of hopefulness.

In the following years, despite surgeries and radiation, Sonya’s cancer kept coming back and she was eventually diagnosed with a malignant bone tumour. More surgeries followed, along with countless chronic infections that caused excruciating pain. With few options, Sonya returned to Halifax in 2012 to try hyperbaric oxygen treatment and again stayed at The Lodge.

It was just as I remembered. The sweet, welcoming volunteers greeted me with open arms. I don’t know what I would have done without this place.

In May 2013, Sonya’s leg was amputated, and in December, she spent more time at The Lodge during rehabilitation. “It was just like visiting a friend’s home at the holidays,” Sonya says. “The tree was decorated, music was playing and good friends were enjoying each other’s company.”

Now that she is cancer-free, Sonya can’t help but get excited thinking about the future. But she knows that not everyone will be as lucky as her. “Unfortunately, far too many Nova Scotians will be diagnosed with cancer this year and they need support,” Sonya says. “I hope you will do what you can to support The Lodge and the people who will need it this year.”