The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently awarded a transportation grant to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations, supporting the transportation needs of patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer. It was one of five grants awarded to health systems throughout the state of Wisconsin.
“This grant will allow us to assist cancer patients who might be facing challenges with reliable transportation to clinics for their treatments,” said Leigh McNamara, Regional Cancer Center Practice Administrator, Hematology and Oncology Services. “It will be a great benefit for our patients and for our cancer care teams, who are often searching for solutions to help their patients.”
Transportation has been identified as one of the top three barriers to patients receiving their needed cancer treatments, according to the American Cancer Society.
“We understand that transportation problems rank right behind financial resources and access to health care as barriers to patients getting cancer care,” said Kim Kinner, M.A., American Cancer Society Senior Director, Cancer Control Strategic Partnerships. “Those barriers can contribute to disparities in cancer outcomes. For example, those who might have a difficult time with reliable transportation might not have access to care, or miss treatments, which could potentially lead to other outcomes. Our patient support services, such as these transportation grants, help fill that critical gap, and are aligned with the American Cancer Society’s goal to improve the lives of cancer patients; to get them through the cancer journey to live a long, healthy life.”
Kinner noted that patients receiving radiation treatments often need to visit their treatment center five days a week for several weeks. She also added that organizing travel, especially for someone who may be suffering from fatigue, pain or other side effects from treatment, can be challenging.
McNamara said the grant will allow the ThedaCare Cancer Care teams to identify patients who are having difficulty getting to their treatments, and tailor assistance to each person.
“ThedaCare serves very diverse populations throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin,” explained McNamara. “What may be a transportation solution for someone in the Fox Valley simply may not be available to someone living in our more rural communities. This grant will empower our care teams to find the best solution for each individual person. For some that may be a gas card to cover fuel expenses, while for another patient, it may be covering the cost of using a local ride service.”
Kinner added the direct connection with patients, understanding each person’s needs, is why ACS grants funding to health care systems directly – because they know their communities.
Support from the Community
Community funds assist patients and families in countless ways. Through its generosity to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations, the American Cancer Society’s transportation grant will allow health care providers to support patients, so patients can focus on their health, explained Courtney Weiland, Vice President of Philanthropy with the ThedaCare Family of Foundations
“Donations to the ThedaCare Cancer Care program improve the health and well-being of our community each day,” said Weiland. “In addition to the generous gift from the American Cancer Society to keep transportation from becoming a barrier to patients, community donors provide critical support through survivorship programming, advanced technology and training, and wellness “extras” such as services through our High Hopes Salon with their gifts. We’re grateful for their tremendous generosity and are honored to see their donations impact the individuals we serve.”
Lastly, ThedaCare Cancer Care leaders encouraged everyone to follow recommendations for cancer screenings.
“Throughout the pandemic, we understand many people have delayed skin, breast, prostate, gynecological or colon cancer screenings,” said McNamara. “Early detection of cancer can allow for potentially less aggressive treatment, impact a patient’s prognosis and could support more positive outcomes. Please encourage your family and friends to have regular cancer screenings.”
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in northeast and central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 18 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their best lives through easy access to individualized care, supporting each person’s own health and wellbeing. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand unique needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care
Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.
For more information, visit thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.