Three Ways You Can Ease the Burden of Travel on Families Facing the World of Childhood Cancer
When I was a young mother, my niece died when she was just sixteen years old from a rare form of cancer. At the time, I remember thinking how unimaginable this loss must be for her parents and I couldn’t begin to understand the devastation they endured while watching their child suffer from this horrible disease?
Children are our most prized possessions on this earth, and as mothers, we have such a powerful instinct to protect them. When my sweet and beautiful niece was diagnosed with cancer, it was devastating to watch her suffer and lose her gorgeous head of hair. It wasn’t fair she and her family had to go through this, but her parents handled it as best as they possibly could. Their strength was inspiring! But you have to know that deep inside, their pain was MORE than any family should have had to bear.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which is why I’m excited to be partnering with The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) to share three ways you can help families get to where they need to be during a tough time. The NCCS is an organization that helps kids battling childhood cancer survive by ensuring they get to the best treatment possible – whether that’s across town or across the country.
Because life saving treatment doesn’t matter if a child can’t get there! When your world is falling apart, everything can seem so overwhelming! Anything stressful can seem significantly harder when dealing with the possibility of losing a child! Knowing the average hospital stay costs over $10,000, adding up to more than $380 billion a year in the U.S. alone, the burden of airplane tickets, gas mileage, and lodging – all costs not covered by insurance – can also pile up and be a major burden on families battling childhood cancer.
As a lover of travel, a mother, and an aunt who lost a niece to childhood cancer, I want to share a few tips for how we can help families get to where they need to be. Whether it’s traveling for cancer treatment, evacuating from a natural disaster or moving to a new home traveling isn’t always easy. Here are three ways you can help ease the burden of travel on families going through a hard time:
SHARE RESOURCES AND SPREAD THE WORD. Many people don’t even think about the costs of travel when they know a family or friend who is going through a difficult time. Spread the word about how costly travel can be on top of medical treatment and other essential expenses. Costs like airplane tickets, hotel stays, meals out and gas mileage add up and can put additional pressure on a family who is already undergoing hardship.
CONSIDER SHARING resources to help a family in need – let them borrow your car or offer to drive them to treatment every once in a while, if you can. Pack healthy snacks and give them to the family in need so they can bring it on their next out-of-state trip instead of stopping at gas stations or buying food from the airport. Every small gesture like this can add up and mean the world to a family!
DONATE. Find an organization that helps ease the burden of essential travel costs on families in need and donate. Even a small amount can go a long way in getting a child to lifesaving treatment or getting a family to a safe place to stay. I encourage you to consider making this donation to the NCCS and sign up to be an NCCS Road Warrior at www.thenccs.org/warrior. Road Warriors are monthly donors who help to make the journey of childhood cancer more manageable for families. These donors help families get to where they need to be physically, financially and emotionally. In the last year, the NCCS funded more than 5,000,000 miles to help families get their children to the best treatment possible.
Programs like the NCCS’ Transportation Assistance Fund and monthly Road Warrior donors are a HUGE RELIEF for families during this time. You can click here to read all about the support the NCCS provides and learn how you can help. And if you’re not ready to commit to monthly donations, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to make a one-time gift to the NCCS. You can help put more kids on the road to survival by donating here.
VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME. It’s also very important to give back in ways outside of monetary donations. Connect with organizations and non-profits that support causes you care about to see how you can volunteer and give back to support their mission.
You can also give your free time to a family in need by offering to help out when they are going through a challenging time. For example, if a family is taking their child to treatment, use your time to offer to walk their dog, pick up a healthy sibling after school, or pack lunches for the kids one day a week. These tasks may seem small to you, but to a family who is going through a hardship, the willingness to spend some of your time helping them ease the burden can make a huge impact.
What better place to put your time and dollars than helping families get to where they need to be? The NCCS is helping families in so many ways! You can feel SO GOOD by contributing even just a small amount.
Count your blessings every day friends….life is really so short! TREASURE your family and let’s help those who are dealing with such hardship!
About The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS)
The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a not-for-profit organization providing support to families making their way through the daunting world of childhood cancer and survivorship. With over 30 years of experience serving more than 43,000 children, the NCCS is able to take a “no matter what” approach to help families stay strong, stay positive and stay together. The NCCS has been recognized as a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity and earned a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency. For more information call 314-241-1600, visit theNCCS.org, or on Facebook andTwitter.