Transportation Realties With Two Experts in the Field

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.

Transportation experts in Maine agree that many of our challenges will require significant collaboration and funding. In the meantime, there are many community-based organizations like YCCAC and Lake Region Senior Service, Inc., who provide invaluable services for Maine cancer patients.

Maine Cancer Foundation is committed to funding transportation programs for cancer patients throughout our state. Thanks to your generous support, we have awarded a total of $354,500 in transportation grant funding! Learn more about the funding, along with the organizations we currently support.

In June, Maine Cancer Foundation held the Maine Cancer Transportation Summit to discuss potential solutions for improving transportation options for cancer patients in Maine. View slides from the day.

Have thoughts about transportation for Maine’s cancer patients? We want to hear from you. E-mail our Program Staff, [email protected] or [email protected].

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017