Alex’s Lemonade Stand provides an invaluable service for the childhood cancer population. Many families have to travel distances to access care for their children. This additional burden of time and cost exacerbates an already stressed family grappling with the uncertainty of cancer.
Many families at All Children’s Hospital in Florida have benefited from the travel assistance offered by Alex’s Lemonade Stand. When a child relapses or progresses despite treatment, families seek innovative treatments offered at other research institutes: National Institutes of Health, Texas Children’s Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering, MD Anderson to name a few. When families seek treatment outside their community, they have usually exhausted not only their savings but also exhausted resources offered by family and friends. And then there are families who have been financially devastated prior to diagnosis who need to travel to another institution for a higher level of care.
It is because of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Travel For Care Program that our families are able to access continued care outside our hospital. Not only do they assist with funding, they understand the urgency with which the funds must be dispensed in order for a child to receive emergent care. Several times, ALSF has been able to purchase tickets within minutes of receiving an application. There is no organization I am able to contact that can provide such a valuable service.
Truly, families breathe a sigh of relief each time Alex’s Lemonade Stand offers them the resources that give their child another chance at living.
Debra Hansen, Social Worker
ALL Children’s Hospital
St. Petersburg, FL
On behalf of the Aflac Cancer Center Social Workers, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and the Travel For Care Program Program for the gas cards you provide to assist our families in need. The Aflac Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is the main Pediatric Cancer Center and also has the only Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit for the whole state. A common challenge many families often face once their child is diagnosed with cancer is that one parent often has to stop working to become the primary caregiver. We also have families coming for treatment who live as far away as 3 to 4 hours. Many of our families are also coming for multiple clinic appointments a week for their child to receive medical evaluation, blood work, testing and radiation. These special circumstances can place a huge financial burden on the whole family system.
Your program has provided assistance for the families with the greatest needs who travel great distances, come on a frequent basis for treatments and who also have limited funds. We are very appreciative of your Travel For Care Program and the need continues to increase as gas prices rise and our population grows. We are honored to be one of your approved centers for this program. Thanks again for your ongoing support of the families that we serve.
Cindy Zehnder, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker for the Aflac BMT
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston
We are so grateful to Alex's Lemonade Stand for their continued assistance to our patients and families. By providing gas cards to our families, we can help them to arrive to their appointments and treatments without the stress and worry of the cost of travel. This expense is a significant and specific burden for a large portion of our families who do not have access to transportation through their insurance and are unable to utilize public transportation due to their risk of infection. Driving to their appointments is their only option. The cost of travel becomes excessive given the frequency with which they are required to return. Offering assistance in the form of gas cards is essential to their immediate needs and provides a huge relief. Thank you so much for your ongoing support and the ease of knowing there is an organization that goes to the heart of what our families need the most.
Karen Turi, Social Worker
New York Presbyterian Hospital
New York, NY
In reference to gas cards that ALSF allocates to hospitals to distribute to families:
“We use these cards for families that are either under exceptional financial strain (parent with lost job, minimal or no insurance, very high co-pays, etc...), or have long distances to drive frequently due to their participation in a clinical trial. In some cases, families have an opportunity to participate in a promising new therapy, but those trials often have very frequent clinic visits, which are hard to manage. Being able to assist families with transportation expenses in many cases, makes the difference for families in being able to get to clinic at all. In some instances, families have to choose between buying gas for their cars to get to clinic, and being able to buy food or helping their other children some days. Most of us could never imagine what it is like to be under this sort of strain, but when faced with trying to make very difficult decisions for children with cancer, being able to alleviate some of the stress cannot be underestimated.
The gas card program allows families a little bit of breathing room, and gives them a measure of peace. Many families have told us that the gas card allowed them to get to the hospital which would have otherwise been very difficult. In one case, we have a young woman who has no insurance, but had the chance to participate in a clinical trial for her refractory disease. Offering her a gas card allowed her to be able to receive a potentially life-saving drug, and one that she would not be able to consider otherwise.”
Lia Gore, MD
Director of Experimental Therapeutics
Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders
The Children's Hospital of Denver
“Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s Travel For Care Program is a wonderful program that we can now offer our families at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Before Alex’s Lemonade Stand, many families were unable to afford the ancillary expenses related to oncology treatment. One family was sleeping in their car in our hospital parking lot because they did not have the money for a hotel room. Because of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, the family was able to sleep in a warm, safe hotel while their child was in the PICU.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s Travel For Care Program helps us better care and nurture families.”
Rowena Moore, Social Worker
Doernbecher Children’s Hospital
“The Travel For Care Program has been invaluable in helping me to help my patients & families. The application process is easy and the turnaround for funds is very fast. Even more, the fund is very flexible and can be tailored to the individual needs of the family. From meals to train tickets to lodging, Alex’s Lemonade Stand takes care of all the details behind the scenes to get the families what they need. I don't know what I would do without the help of the Travel For Care Program!”
Heather Van Diest, Social Worker
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
"I have only good things to say about Alex's Lemonade Stand! Financial burdens are especially great when a child is diagnosed with cancer. The Travel For Care Program offers much needed assistance to families who fly to our institution for treatment. Having a program like Alex's Lemonade Stand is truly an asset to our patients and their families. I find staff readily accessible and turnaround time to be quite fast. It seems that gas cards are always needed. This component of programming offered by Alex's Lemonade Stand is such an appreciated resource.
It's quite inspiring that this organization was started by a girl with an idea and a dream to help others. That dream has been accomplished and then some."
Gina Baldacci, Social Worker
Children’s Memorial Hospital
"Just making it to all hospital visits during cancer treatment is a challenge in itself. Alex’s Lemonade Stand realizes this, and assists in direct, sensible ways, even if it’s just providing a family with some cab fare."
Efren Arcos, Oncology Resource Specialist
Children’s Memorial Hospital
"Each year Dana-Farber's Pediatric Oncology/Hematology Program cares for over 400 children. Patients range in age from newborns to young adults and many of them remain on treatment for two years or more. Treatment regimens typically include numerous planned and unplanned hospital admissions - ranging in length from several days to several months - along with frequent visits to the Jimmy Fund Clinic.
At the time of diagnosis families are not only forced to confront fears, make complex decisions, and cope with tremendous stress, many are also suddenly faced with financial hardship. This is an effect of cancer that many do not see. Finances are strained by lost income, as parents often must go on unpaid leave, or work reduced hours, or even leave/lose their job in order to care for their child. At the same time, there are new out-of-pocket expenses related to the child's care that are not covered by health insurance. Many families soon find it difficult to find enough money for such basic and important needs as gasoline for frequent trips to/from Boston, groceries for their home, rent/mortgage payments, and co-payments for their children's prescriptions. For these families the services of the Division of Pediatric Psychosocial Services/Pediatric Resource Program are essential.
An important part of the program helps support pediatric on treatment patients and their families, particularly those who are struggling financially as a result of their child's illness. Much time is therefore spent helping families in need apply for assistance from local, regional, and federal programs. Few parents, regardless of their socioeconomic background, are able to deal with the trauma of their child's cancer diagnosis and treatment while simultaneously navigating the maze of paperwork required for assistance.
Our program has used 'Alex's Lemonade Stand' to ease the financial of patients and families. Many families have commented on the quick responses received when applications are submitted. Other families have mentioned the flexibility plus the last minute assistance that is provided. One family in particular stated that without the help of Alex's Lemonade Stand they had no idea how they would be able to get treatment and be able to eat while they were in the hospital. The gas cards and meal cards that were provided helped this family receive the cancer treatment they needed.
Alex's Lemonade Stand has been a tremendous help to our families. They treat each and every case individually and are able to provide the families with what is needed during this difficult time. Patients, families, and the Jimmy Fund staff are grateful that a program like this continues to exist. Without it, many families would not be able to receive the care their children need and deserve."
Michele Stolper, Social Worker
Dana Farber Cancer Institute
“We are so grateful to Alex's Lemonade Stand for enabling our families to get to drive back and forth between home and San Francisco. Your generosity impacts their quality of life every day. And it means so much to all of us who appreciate you every day.”
Anne Pearl, Social Worker
UCSF Children’s Hospital
San Francisco, CA