McCaffreys visit with patients at Hope Lodge in Iowa City

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 7:47 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Margaret, Connor and Fran McCaffery made a visit to Hope Lodge in Iowa City Friday afternoon to meet two patients staying at the facility. It’s a cause close to the family, following their son Patrick’s battle with thyroid cancer.

“It’s never a journey you want to go on, but when you do, you’re so grateful for the people that come into your life while you’re on that journey,” Margaret McCaffrey said.

The family met with Carolann Miller who lives in Chariton. Miller was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in August of 2022 and has been at Hope Lodge for about a month.

“I’m getting adjusted. I’ve got two more weeks to go,” Miller said. “It’s almost over. That’s the good part.”

Tami Oldenburger of Clarksville, has been at the facility for three weeks after being diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. The Oldenburgers say they’re glad places like Hope Lodge exist.

“Until we were here about a week, you don’t realize how much of a load it takes off of you not having to think about that traveling and expenses ,” Aaron Oldenburger said. “There’s enough of a weight with this battle anyway.”

The McCaffery’s have championed for the American Cancer Society (ACS) and helped raise millions to support ACS efforts. They know first-hand the importance of being close to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics when going through treatments.

“For those folks in this state, to have the opportunity to come here to get treatment, that’s really important,” Iowa men’s basketball head coach Fran McCaffrey said. “Then, to be able to make sure they can afford it without worrying about it, so that they can actually just fight the disease as a family, is such a difference maker.”

This marked the first time that Miller and the Oldenburgers have met the McCaffrey family and learned about their involvement with Hope Lodge.

“It’s a blessing to know that they have taken on such a task, because cancer can be deeply expensive,” Miller said.

“I didn’t know that they were involved in this. It’s not something they brag about. It’s just something that they humbly do because they love it and they support it,” Tami Oldenburger said.

“They want people to have a place like this where they can win this battle in comfort,” Aaron added.

The patients were also invited to the Hawkeyes practice and were given tickets to Sunday’s game.

The McCaffery’s say visits like this are a good reminder of who they’re impacting.

“To see families and lives be changed because of the experience that we’re able to provide here, is something that we really cherish. We cherish that opportunity and continue to fight. It’s not we do a thing and then it’s over and we’re on to something else. This is a continuous fight for those folks that have cancer and are going to fight cancer,” Fran said.

A supply drive for Hope Lodge will take place at the Iowa vs. Illinois men’s basketball game Saturday, Feb. 4. Hope Lodge is accepting donations in the form of non-perishable food items, gas and grocery gift cards, and 13- & 30-gallon garbage bags. Fans can drop off supplies as they enter the game at Carver Hawkeye Arena between Noon-1:30pm.

For more information on Hope Lodge, visit