Hope Hollow: Sharing Hope and Comfort When They’re Needed Most
Some couples seek leisure in their retirement: rounds of golf, quiet evenings to themselves. Not Kevin Clark and Jane Jacquemin-Clark, who have chosen a life of service to others.
Like too many people, Jane’s life has been marked by cancer. First, Jane lost her mother to pancreatic cancer when she was just 10, followed by the loss of a beloved aunt, also to pancreatic cancer. And then her own cancers: an aggressive medullary thyroid malignincy caught early by chance, followed by a bout with breast cancer. Despite these challenges, or perhaps because of them, the Clarks yearned for a way to express their gratitude for the blessings in Jane’s life, and for the friends, family and healthcare professionals who helped them along the way. So the Clarks founded Hope Hollow, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that provides complimentary lodging, hospitality and support for families traveling to Columbus for cancer treatments.
The Clarks host dozens of families each year in an inviting 4,600-square-foot home in northwest Columbus, which they restored just for this purpose. Hope Hollow also provides hundreds of hotel stays each year for families identified by oncology social workers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), as well as a host of other services that meet families’ basic needs.
While offering a comfortable place to stay is Hope Hollow’s core mission, the Clarks’ vision has grown. On any given day, they can be spotted delivering care packages with goodies like coffee, pastries and groceries; gathering gas cards for families who must travel to and from Columbus; dropping off Ensure and bladder control products for those in need—all while caring for the physical and emotional needs of families who stay in their home. It’s hands-on work that once led Jane to make a woman’s beloved homemade soup recipe down to the exact dicing of the potatoes so that the woman’s daughter, sick from lymphoma, could eat.
“When you’re on a journey with cancer,” says Jane, “hope becomes pretty crucial. We’re a part of that journey for some families, and we want our presence and support to provide people hope. People did it for me, and it’s a privilege to be able to do it for others.
Jenny Turner and her husband Chris have stayed at Hope Hollow a number of times during her treatment for breast cancer at the OSUCCC – James. Not only did the stays help the couple save to afford a nice Christmas for their two children regardless of financial stresses from Jenny’s illness, but the Clarks were there to provide unexpected emotional support when a scan found two masses in other organs (which would turn out to be benign) the day before she was to begin chemotherapy. “It was the most devastating moment I’d had,” recalls Jenny. “And I had known Jane for all of 24 hours, but she was able to get me through that. She hugged me and held me and was just the most comforting person. It was like having family here that couldn’t come from back home.”
Hope Hollow is funded by the generosity of individuals and businesses who want to help. Bishop Watterson High School, for example, dedicated proceeds from an extra performance of Bye-Bye Birdie to Hope Hollow this past spring. “Often money comes in right when it’s needed,” says Kevin. “Whenever we reach a hurdle, it gets resolved by something bigger than us.”
To learn more about Hope Hollow or to make a donation, visit hopehollow.com.