ASHLAND, WI– Finding a ride to an appointment can be difficult for those living in rural Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Pennisula.

Especially if you are receiving cancer treatment.

But with a $6,000 grant, the American Cancer Society is helping cancer patients at Northwest Wisconsin’s Cancer Center get easier access to transportation.

Bonnie Ryszka, Operations Manager for the center said, “We do medical oncology treatment which would be chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and we do radiation therapy.”

Those at the American Cancer Society acknowledge that a cancer diagnosis comes with many challenges.

“We know one of the biggest barriers to cancer patients is actually their ride to treatment. Just getting there in the first place,” said Laurie Bertrand, Executive Director for Wisconsin’s American Cancer Society. “And if a patient can’t get to treatment, we know that impacts their health outcome.”

The grant money will provide gas cards for patients and help patients in other non-medical ways.

Ryszka said, “Maybe they don’t have someone to drive them and they’ll need to take a cab or they need to do a wheelchair van, so we have some money set aside to help with that.”

Hospital officials know that getting treatment is hard enough and COVID-19 has made everything in life even more difficult.

“We know that 79% of patients have reported a delay in treatment,” said Bertrand. “So our hope is this transportation grant to Northwest Cancer center will help alleviate some of those pressures.”

Ryszka adds knowing they’re helping patients break down barriers to getting care has left her speechless.

“There was an elderly gentleman from another part of Michigan, they were almost in tears he and his son. They were just amazed that we could help them out with something like that,” said Ryszka.

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Since the grant began in September, the center has been able to help roughly 60 patients.

For more information on the cancer center click here.



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