Traveling to treatment can get expensive

Wilson Gaillard, Director, The Cancer Center at Greenwood Leflore Hospital

Editor, Commonwealth:

The Cancer Center at Greenwood Leflore Hospital has received a donation from Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. as part of its service initiative to assist patients with transportation expenses.

Having spent 15 years trying to identify solutions to the barriers we see for our area patients, I can tell you that transportation is one of the most difficult to solve. While there are some transportation systems operating in the area, not everyone qualifies for their service. In those cases, it can truly be a matter of life and death.

Patients requiring radiation treatment for their diagnosis must manage a very active schedule. In most every case, radiation treatment is every day, Monday through Friday. In many cases, the patient may live as far as 50 miles from our center, making the round trip for treatment 100 miles. While simply maintaining the schedule is hard, the cost associated with travel is equally difficult. Traveling 500 miles a week in a personal car is expensive, especially for those operating on a fixed income.

While the donation received from Sigma Gamma Rho cannot possibly cover all of that expense, the gift cards definitely make it much more feasible. The tears of joy seen when they are handed to the patient tell you all you need to know. In some cases, these cards allow patients to purchase their medications with the money saved in travel.

On behalf of all of us at The Center and the patients we serve, thank you, Sigma Gamma Rho. You have no idea how much we appreciate having partners in care such as you. We truly appreciate your generosity and your efforts to improve the lives of those in your community.