Michele Canchola spots the termination notice from Georgia Power on the fax machine along with a referral letter from Augusta Oncology Associates and quickly hands it off to Shelly Olmos to get started on paying it immediately.
The Lydia Project will keep a woman being treated for cancer from having her power cut off, one of the many free services the nonprofit provides to women facing cancer.
Then Canchola heads downstairs from the offices on the second floor of the Daksha Chudgar Lydia House to the first, where a whole new level of service for Lydia is about to begin.
“We’re here,” she said, opening up a door to a large common room with sofas and tables and chairs and a large kitchen. Hallways branching off each side lead to 10 bedrooms with two beds apiece that will soon house women who need some a to stay while they are being treated for cancer in Augusta.
Having the rooms has long been a dream for Lydia Project, but now it is about to become a reality, said Canchola, the executive director.
“Those beds and those quarters will save lives,” she said.
For instance, Edgefield County has the third highest rate of death from breast cancer in South Carolina, which Canchola believes might be due in part to women not seeking treatment because it is out of reach. The house will provide lodging for those who live 30 or more miles from Augusta.
Much of the design, construction and furnishings for the house have been donated or provided at cost, which has helped the small nonprofit build the house. The rest is paid for with fund raising.
The ninth annual Dessert Auction will be held at 6:30 p.m. June 13 at The Richmond on Greene, 725 Greene St. In addition to the desserts, there will be a silent auction for other items. Tickets are $25.
The group is facing a lot of need. Canchola pointed to a thick stack of 65 requests for this week as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, not counting the one on the fax machine.
The group makes signature tote bags with items for the women – Canchola points to a stack of boxes of donated lotion in the hallway – that are shipped worldwide and also include prayers and 12 months of support for those who reach out to the group,
The house, which will be housing women “within weeks,” Canchola said, will provide one more layer of service to those who need it, regardless of where they are being treated in Augusta.
“We already are getting calls from physicians, ‘Is it done yet?’ because they have women who need to stay here,” she said.