MBC Patients! Get a Free Ride to Your Next Appointment

by Katherine Malmo Health Writer

If you’ve been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, you want the best care available. That may mean you need to travel to a major medical center far from home for weekly chemotherapy or daily radiation appointments. Sometimes, even getting to a doctor’s appointment in your neighborhood can be a challenge. But whether you’re traveling to another state or just around the corner, there are organizations ready to help cancer patients in need of transportation.

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American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery Program

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is the biggest provider of free rides for cancer patients. Call 800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org, and they can set you up with a volunteer driver in your area, coordinate a ride with another local agency, or refer you to a local resource for more help. In some cities, the ACS partners with Lyft to provide free ride service.

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CancerCare’s Get You There Program

CancerCare has a program for metastatic breast cancer patients that provides individual grants to cover transportation costs to and from appointments. Funds can be used for gasoline, parking, tolls, and bus and train fares. The program is funded partly by Celgene Corporation. Patients can call 800-813-HOPE or visit www.cancercare.org to learn more about eligibility.

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The Ellie Fund

The Ellie Fund is committed to helping breast cancer patients living in and/or receiving treatment in Massachusetts manage the stresses of daily life. Part of this mission includes providing funding and assistance with transportation to and from medical appointments. To apply for support, call 781-449-0100 or visit www.elliefund.org.

Angel Wheels

Angel Wheels’ mission is to “ensure that no one in need is denied medical care because of a lack of transportation.” They offer gas cards, bus tickets, and train tickets. Apply at angelwheels.org

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Patient Travel

Patient Travel also offers transportation assistance to anyone in need of medical care. They provide airline tickets, volunteer pilots, and gas cards, bus, and train tickets. You can apply for assistance at patienttravel.org.

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Chemo Cars

The Chemo Cars service, which is available in Charlotte, North Carolina and Amarillo, Texas, works with Lyft and Uber to provide free round-trip transportation for chemotherapy, radiation, and non-surgical cancer treatments at verified medical centers. All rides are funded by donations, and you can book trips through chemocars.org.

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Regional Organizations

There are several organizations that provide free regional transportation. Drivers for Survivors offers rides in the Bay area of California, near Fremont. And the Houston Ground Angels provide services in the Houston, Texas area. Ask around in your community to find out if there are other local providers near you.

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Ask Your Medical Center

If you’re still in need of transportation, ask your doctors and nurses. Some medical centers provide rides; other staff may know of local organizations, or even an individual volunteer or taxi driver who’d be willing to help.

Senior women talking in the back of a car.
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Network With Your Contacts

You may want to ask your insurance provider if you have an allocation to cover transportation costs. Also, consider speaking to friends, family, church groups, and any other clubs or organizations. Put the word out to learn about what local resources are available.

Katherine Malmo
Meet Our Writer
Katherine Malmo

Katherine Malmo is a freelance writer and author who was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer 13 years ago. Her memoir, “Who in This Room: The Realities of Cancer, Fish, and Demolition,” was published in 2011 and a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. These days, she lives in Seattle and writes mostly about cancer and advances in cancer treatments.