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Medical Travel Assistance

At times, it may become necessary or beneficial for you to travel away from home for a consultation or treatment.  This could be by personal choice or medical necessity.  It may be very hard for you to be away from home and loved ones, at this time.  But sometimes, it is the best thing that you can do for yourself.  Hopefully, a family member will be able to travel with you.  There are things that you can do to make travel a little easier for you and your family.

Ask in the Rare Cancer Forums (link above).  You may be able to contact someone in the area that you are traveling to for support when you get there.  I experienced this first hand, when I had to travel out of state. I had a stranger, who I had only talked to online in a support group, sit with me in a hospital room for two days during that critical surgery and early recovery period (thank you Shari).

If you are in the US, contact the American Cancer Society and ask them to contact the ACS organization in the area where you are traveling to see what support is offered.

Contact the social worker at the hospital or cancer treatment center where you will be receiving treatment.  They may be able to help with your needs.

Contact any religious or fraternal organizations that you may be affiliated with to see if they can find some assistance for you.

If you are dealing with a child's cancer, I suggest that you look into the possibility of taking them to St. Jude's for care. They offer some financial and practical assistance. You may want to read their Family Guide to see what may be available to you.

Hopefully, the above list and the following links will help you find assistance in your travel needs.

Flight Assistance

Please call ahead to try to arrange a flight.  The sooner you call, the better your chances are of being accommodated by these organizations:

Air Care Alliance - a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations.

Air Charity Network - national charitable aviation network matching people in need with "free" flights.

Angel Flight East - conducts operations from Maine to the Carolinas and west to Ohio.

Angel Flight - Heartland Region - coordinates free air transportation for people in the Heartland region of the US.

Angel Flight Hospice - to ensure that no financially-needy senior citizen or hospice patient is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment.

Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic - for patients departing from: District of Columbia, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

AngelFlight Northeast - service area includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Angel Flight Central - coverage area for mid-United States.

Angel Flight Samaritans - mission is to ensure that no financially needy cancer patient is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment for lack of a means of long-distance medical air transportation.

Angel Flight South Central - serving Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and New Mexico

Angel Flight South East -serving residents in need in the state of Florida.

Angel Flight Veterans - serving financially needy veterans and/or active duty military person or their family member(s).

Angel Flight West - serving Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, & Wyoming.

Children's Angel Flight - to ensure that no needy child patient is denied access.

Corporate Angel Network - arranges free travel on corporate jets for cancer patients, bone marrow donors and bone marrow recipients.

Hospice Angel Flight - to ensure that no financially-needy senior citizen or hospice patient is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment for lack of a means of long-distance medical air transportation.

Mercy Medical Airlift - additional links to air transportation organizations, including Mercy.

Miracle Flights for Kids - provides free access to health care for families who can not afford transportation to treatment centers.

Patient Travel  - facilitates patient access to appropriate charitable medical air transportation resources in the United States..

Volunteer Pilots Association - is a charitable non-profit organization providing air transportation to needy people who must travel to obtain medical treatment.

Ground Transportation

There is a myriad of free ground transportation offered in most cities for cancer patients through medical institutions, local transit authorities, social service agencies, religious organizations, and cancer organizations.  You can search on the web for telephone numbers for these types of agencies in the area you will be going to.  Also, the social worker at your treatment facility may be able to help you find phone numbers for any of these businesses or assist you with information.  The only national organizations that I am aware of that offer help in finding transportation are listed here.  If you know of any others, or of any in countries other than the US, please let me know.

American Cancer Society Road to Recovery - call their toll free number for possible help with ground transportation.

Faith In Action -  many of their state programs offer assistance with ground transportation needs.

Meals On Wheels - in some (but not all) locations, they offer transportation assistance or information on where to find assistance.


Make sure that you call and arrange accommodations as far ahead as possible in case these facilities have limited space.  Many lodges will request that the residents help with routine house cleaning and care, if at all possible:

American Cancer Society - some US communities have a 'Hope Lodge' sponsored by the ACS.  You can search by zip code on this page.  Or click on one of the state links below:

Florida - Gainesville & Tampa
Massachusetts - Boston & Worcester
Minnesota - Rochester & Minneapolis
Missouri - Kansas City & St Louis
New York - Buffalo, New York City, & Rochester
North Carolina
Ohio - Cinncinati & Cleveland
Pennsylvania - Hershey & Philadelphia
Puerto Rico
South Carolina

Fisher House - offers patient housing facilities for military forces, veterans, and their families receiving care at military medical centers.

National Assoc. of Hospitality Houses Inc.- network members provide free or low cost lodging to patients and their families.

Ronald McDonald Houses - Use their convenient search engine to find a House near you.  They have them all over the world.