Made With Love: Fox Chase Nurses Serve Valentine-Themed Dinners to Cancer Patients and Families

Members of Fox Chase Cancer Center's Department of Nurse Navigation
Members of Fox Chase Cancer Center's Department of Nurse Navigation serving Valentine-Themed dinners to cancer patients and their families.

PHILADELPHIA (February 28, 2024) – With 65 guests and infinite kindness, members of the Nursing Professional Development Council and the Department of Nursing of Fox Chase Cancer Center hosted “That’s Amore!,” on Tuesday, February 13. This Valentine-themed dinner featured a host of Italian delights and brought together cancer patients and their families staying at Hope Lodge.

Located in Cheltenham, Pa., just minutes from Fox Chase and Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus, the AstraZeneca Hope Lodge of the American Cancer Society provides free lodging for patients and caregivers receiving cancer care in the Philadelphia region.

A team of 25 nurses prepared, set up, decorated, and served a delicious buffet supper that evening. In doing so, the nurses conversed with guests of the lodge and offered a welcoming and enjoyable time for all who attended. A priority for the group, they say, is making sure that out-of-town patients have a reliable and comfortable “home away from home.”

“The food was delicious and plentiful. The decorations were cheerful and fun. Conversation with the guests was meaningful and heartfelt,” said Susan Behrend, MSN, RN, AOCN, of the Department of Radiation Oncology, who spearheaded the effort. “In serving others, our team truly exemplified excellence as we came together to host a memorable evening.”

“Our nurses are a source of referral for Hope Lodge,” Behrend added. “The comfort and community provided at this event reflects our commitment to ensuring safe, secure, and convenient living arrangements throughout patients’ treatment.”

The very next night—Wednesday, February 14—Fox Chase’s Department of Nurse Navigation hosted a special Valentine’s Day dinner at Hope Lodge. 

Hope Lod

“Spreading love, kindness, and warmth to the hearts of our patients and community was our goal,” said Karen Heron, MSN, BSN, RN, a nurse navigator who cares for patients with head and neck, lung, endocrine, and brain cancers as well as sarcoma.

The group’s Valentine’s menu featured comfort foods, including homemade chicken pot pies from Solly Brother’s Farm in Warminster, Pa., mac and cheese donated by Chef Steven Newman Jr. and the TUH – Jeanes Campus kitchen staff, tomato pies, strawberry salad, pasta salad, and homemade vegetable soup. For dessert, homemade macaroons, along with cherry pie and apple pie from Solly Brother’s Farm were served.

“The experience proved rewarding both for our dinner guests and our nurse navigators,” said Heron, who shared that the group plans to make their Valentine’s Day dinner at Hope Lodge an annual tradition.

Since opening in May 2009 on land donated by Fox Chase Cancer Center, Hope Lodge has served as a vital community resource by providing free lodging for thousands of cancer patients and their caregivers while in the Greater Philadelphia area for treatment. The lodge is located at 110 W. Laurel Ave. in Cheltenham, Pa.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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