HOUGHTON — Cancer patients in the Upper Peninsula often have to drive long distances to get the treatment they need. ABC 10’s Keweenaw Bureau Reporter Rick Allen has more on an effort to make those trips a little easier.
One of the obstacles to getting treatment for cancer in the Copper Country is the travel necessary to receive specialized care.
A grant from The Keller Community Foundation out of Minnesota to the Portage Health Foundation is providing a way to ease the financial burden of having to make those trips.
Eligible patients can receive a gas card to help cover fuel costs.
Grants Management Coordinator for the Portage Health Foundation Hilary Anderson said, “We realize that we are a remote area and so some families are required to travel 100 miles or more, 300–400 miles to receive this care, and that can be a hefty price tag for some families so, with this gas money, we hoping to ease that financial barrier.”
To be eligible, patients must be receiving oncology care at U.P. Health System—Portage and be required to travel either out of the area for more specialized care or, if they live outside the area, have to travel to Hancock for their care. Patients must also be experiencing a financial hardship.
Anderson said, “Interested cancer patients and their families should speak to a representative at the Oncology Department at the hospital and a staff member there will help them fill out an application, which then gets forwarded to us. We evaluate it and send out a gas card to the cancer patient.”
Eligible patients can receive up to $150 in fuel assistance per year.