Someone You Should Know: Opening up her home for cancer patients

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 8:03 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Pam Hoffman is using a part of her beautiful home near Renner to help others.

“I was at my Pammogram—that’s what I call it, with a name like Pam,” Hoffman said. “At my mammogram about five or six years ago, I was visiting with the gal doing the procedure. She asked me what I do, and I said, ‘I’m a Spanish teacher, and I do design. But I’m adding on to my house so I can house people for hospital and medical treatment stays, so they can stay for free and come and get their treatments.’ And she goes, ‘Really? Do you know how many women actually don’t come back for their treatments or even a biopsy because they feel they live too far away, and feel they’ll be a financial burden on their family?’”

So Pam started The Pink Door Network, so those families who have to travel a long ways for treatment have a free place to stay.

“Traveling, with the hotels and the restaurants, gets to be an big expense. I’ve had breast cancer women as young as 26, 29, with small children. I’ve got toys here. I’ve got everything they need,” said Hoffman.

Dick and Kathy Sturm make the two and half hour drive from Armstrong, Iowa, for Kathy’s treatments. Staying at Pam’s, sometimes with extended family, has made a tough time easier.

“She just opens up her door, and she’s just wonderful. She does make you feel at home. She offers her kitchen, just whatever you want,” said Kathy.

“Pam’s been great. We’ve stayed there several times when she’s come for treatment, and every time we’ve stayed at her place, she’s met us there and said, ‘Anything that you need, tell me. I’ll make sure it’s taken care of,’” said Dick.

“We got to know each other. They stayed right here on my sofa, and their kids flew in, and they got to stay in rooms, too, because I’ve got rooms for everybody, and I threw the Christmas lights on my tree, and I’ve kept them up all year long. Now she’s been here two Christmases. She’s a miracle. She’s a walking miracle,” said Hoffman.

There are rooms dedicated to Pam’s parents, who both died from cancer.

“Twenty years ago, my parents would travel from Watertown into Minneapolis and stay with my aunt and uncle so that she could get her treatments in St. Paul. They were able to go to my aunt and uncle’s house Monday through Friday, go back home for the weekend, and then go back and do it again, but that saved them money,” said Hoffman.

The Pink Door Network has expanded and includes Hoffman’s son’s home near the Sanford Children’s Hospital.

“It’s Alex’s gingerbread house. We’ve housed a boy from Rapid City four or five times. A family from Lead, bringing their baby for dialysis just got here—they have to be from about 90 miles away, and usually by referral. They refer each other, too, but Sanford and Avera both call me,” said Hoffman.

There are others in the area who have also opened up their homes for cancer patients. And Pam has a long term plan.

“To see it grow would be awesome. Right now, I do an Airbnb on the weekends to help pay for this place and the mortgage. Everything with that helps provide it for free. My goal is to pay this off and never ever rent it out again and just welcome people. That’s my goal,” said Hoffman.

If you would like to open up your home for cancer patients or donate, go to