Lydia Project's respite house for women with cancer set for groundbreaking Friday

Dr. Bipin Chudgar (left) and Jerry Renbarger, the president of the Lydia Project's board, stand in front of what will be the the Daksha Chudgar Lydia House, a respite house for women being treated for cancer.

As they move forward Friday on a new respite house for women being treated for cancer, supporters of the Daksha Chudgar Lydia House will also be remembering the late physician it honors.


A groundbreaking for the house at 1369 Interstate Parkway near Doctors Hospital will be held at 11 a.m. The goal is to be finished by April, said Michele Canchola, the executive director of the Lydia Project.

It will feature 12 rooms for women being treated for cancer in the Augusta area who might not have anywhere else to turn, she said.

“Imagine if you had to have radiation (therapy) every day for five weeks, what would you do?” Canchola said. “That gets expensive. We are a huge medical center that has folks come from all over both states.”

A cancer group in Anderson, S.C., that Lydia works with recently had to pay a few hundred dollars for lodging for a patient being treated in Augusta, she said.

“When this house is built, we can help them even more when they have to send patients to our city,” Canchola said.

Dr. Daksha B. Chudgar was a beloved OB/GYN and fertility specialist who died in 2009, she said. Her husband, Dr. Bipin Chudgar, also an OB/GYN who is on Lydia’s board, began talking to the group about ways to honor her.

“He really, really wanted to do something for her, for her legacy,” Canchola said. The respite house, which will also have space for volunteers, support groups and a resource library, became that idea about 18 months ago, she said. Chudgar has pledged $500,000 to the project but the true cost could be double or triple that, Canchola said.

The house is “something that would be so impacting and would carry on her tradition of compassion and care for others,” she said.