Maine is the most rural state in the nation, which bodes well for scenic landscapes, but proves difficult for residents traveling long distances for cancer care. Connie Garber, former Transportation Director for York County Community Action Corporation (YCCAC), frames the issue to explain the necessity for transportation assistance. “Recall a time when your car was unavailable to you for a day,” she said. “What does this do to your normal course of action over the day? How disrupted was your personal mobility?” This day-in-the-life scenario is easy to conjure for even the most affluent Mainer, and the upset to routine is undeniable.
For thousands of Mainers, lack of transportation is an overwhelming burden. Individual travel needs can be as varied as cancer itself; one person might require short-term assistance to and from radiation treatment (typically lasting just six weeks) because friends or family are unavailable. Another patient might have a disability which requires a specialized vehicle. “There’s no one approach to transportation,” said Garber. “We take it for granted so easily, but there are many permutations to what transportation needs are for people."
Maine Cancer Foundation is currently funding several cancer patient transportation grants, including one at Lake Region Senior Service, Inc. Executive Director Dana Hanson believes in community-based transportation programs, which he says most effectively address gaps in Maine’s services. Mr. Hanson also notes that Maine has a significant senior population; their needs, including transportation, will only continue to grow in the years ahead.
Since 2012, Maine Cancer Foundation has given over $50,000 in transportation grants to DSCF to support cancer patients in Midcoast Maine who travel to and from treatment.
Your generous support helps ease the burden of transportation costs for cancer patients in our state. Thank you!
Did you know that over half of the oncologists in Maine are in Cumberland County?
As one of the most rural states in the country, many cancer patients live far away from treatment providers, and access to care may become a significant barrier to recovery.
For over a decade, Maine Cancer Foundation has provided funding for transportation programs that offer assistance to cancer patients statewide. But we believe there is more we can do.
Here are the big questions we've been asking: