When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it’s not uncommon for the specialized care and treatment they need to be at a hospital in another city, sometimes across the country. Huge travel expenses are an extra weight on parents who are already struggling to care for a sick child, maintain jobs and pay bills—which include the staggering costs of cancer care.
The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) alleviates the financial burden of getting a child to treatment through the Transportation Assistance Fund. This fund offers families help with transportation expenses such as mileage, airfare and lodging. For Christopher and Jessica, it’s been invaluable as they travel from their home in Wisconsin to a hospital in New York so their daughter, Julia, can get the care she needs.
“The NCCS has helped to ease some of our travel costs which we are extremely grateful for. Saying thank you isn’t enough as we cannot even express in words our gratitude,” said Jessica.
Five-year-old Julia was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, cancer of the eye, at 18-months-old. Since then, her treatment has required regular trips to New York, typically once per month. Her family was able to receive charitable flights, but didn’t realize cab fare would cost them more than $100 each trip. For two years, the NCCS provided financial support to take the family to and from airports.
This year, the need for assistance has increased during the pandemic. The health risks of COVID-19 make travel more difficult and time-consuming for families with a child in treatment. Some are able to delay treatment, but others are taking on the additional expenses and logistics to continue their child’s care. They’re turning to the NCCS for help. The organization is committed to getting kids to the treatment they need to survive. No matter what.
Now in kindergarten, Julia is still on her cancer journey. Because she is high-risk for the virus and don’t feel safe flying, they drive to New York. Starting in April 2020, the NCCS has provided financial assistance for the 1,800 miles round trip, as well as for hotels so they can stop along the way and break up the 13.5 hour drive.
The Transportation Assistance Fund is just one of the ways the NCCS ensures a family like Julia’s has the resources and support necessary to get their child to lifesaving treatment. The NCCS is committed to getting families where they need to be—physically, financially and emotionally—and giving kids the best chance at survival.