American Cancer Society's free patient accommodation facility officially broke ground in Dallas on Tuesday, May 8.

Gene and Jerry Jones donated $7.5 million to build Dallas's first Hope Lodge facility, which will bear the Jones family name.

Patients traveling to receive medical treatment from any health care provider in the Dallas-Fort Worth area can get free lodging at the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Hope Lodge.

The American Cancer Society is building the new facility in a 1.5-acre plot of land that was donated by Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation, whose Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center is also situated nearby.

The 40,000-square-foot facility will include 50 private guest suites — each with two beds and a private bathroom, which is expected to provide over 18,000 nights of free lodging every year.

“The American Cancer Society is committed to removing the emotional, physical and financial burdens that many cancer patients must face when they travel away from home for treatment,” Jeff Fehlis, executive vice president for the American Cancer Society’s South Region, said in a statement.

The Gene and Jerry Jones Family Hope Lodge will cost $20 million in capital expenses and $5 million for annual programming and operations.

The Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation had previously announced the Dallas facility will be fully-funded by philanthropy.

The fundraising efforts exceeded its goals as several other charitable foundations and individuals have so far helped raise about $32 million for the project.

“Thanks to the generosity of partners and individuals who have stepped up to help with this project," Fehlis said. "We will soon be able to provide a home away from home for cancer patients allowing them to focus on what’s important – getting well.”

The lead donors were Jene and Jerry Jones, owner of Dallas Cowboys. Together, the couple started the Gene and Jerry Jones Family, aka, Dallas Cowboys Charities, in 2006. The charity contributes millions of dollars every year to various causes.

“Facing a cancer diagnosis and enduring treatment is already daunting enough, but worrying about travel, lodging and other necessities can be a huge burden,” said Jerry Jones. “Our family is grateful for the opportunity to help those who are in need of these types of services and exceptionally proud of what the Hope Lodge will bring to our community.”

Since the start of the first Hope Lodge in 1984, the American Cancer Society has provided over 5.6 million nights of free lodging to patients. There are more than 30 Hope Lodge facilities across the nations.

The Dallas facility will also headquarter American Cancer Society’s South Region operations.

The Gene and Jerry Jones Family Hope Lodge will feature common living areas, dining room, laundry facilities, library, meditation room and outdoor garden. Patients and their caregivers will also have access to the current offerings of the American Cancer Society’s programs and services.

“This project, the first of its kind in North Texas, is a natural extension of our mission and deep commitment to patients,” Jim Hinton, CEO of Baylor Scott & White Health, said in a statement. “The Gene and Jerry Jones Family Hope Lodge will be a haven for healing on patients’ journeys; its impact will be exponential, as it will not only help those fighting cancer but those fighting alongside them.”

The architect is Tori Wickard with Perkins + Will. She has worked on three Hope Lodge facilities so far—Houston, under construction—scheduled to open spring of 2020; Ok City, under development; and Dallas, scheduled to open early 2021.

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