“I remember feeling the room turn sideways when he told me,” says Nancy as she recalls being informed of her breast cancer diagnosis last September at Providence’s Southern Oregon Cancer Center. “We’re sitting there talking about chemo treatment schedules for the winter, but I’m just in a state of shock… and it hasn’t even occurred to me yet that I have to drive to these appointments.”
Nancy and her husband Bruce live in Brookings, OR, about 120 miles west of Medford where Nancy was soon to begin receiving tri-weekly cancer treatments.
The cost of gas alone would have broken their budget — “I was on a high-dose plan partly because I was scared to miss too much work” — and the winter winds could additionally turn US-199 into an icy hazard. The commute was as expensive as it was dangerous.
“I just had no idea what we were going to do,” says Nancy, “until Ben told us about Project Access NOW.”
When Providence Radiation Oncology Social Worker Ben Bryan heard Nancy’s story, he reached out to Project Access NOW’s C3 Community Assistance Program (C3CAP). Through a partnership with Providence Health & Services, C3CAP works with hospital dispatchers and social workers to help clients get the resources they need to be healthy, safe, and, in Nancy’s case, maintain vital continuity of care.
“Working with Project Access NOW, we were able to get Nancy vouchers to stay at the Holiday Inn in Medford through the week [for her treatments], and gas cards so she could drive home to Brookings on weekends,” says Ben, proudly. “When she told us about how icy the pass could get, we were even able to get her new tires for her car.
“These interventions changed Nancy’s whole experience, and her outcome, dramatically. It would have taken comparable national programs weeks to connect her to those resources. Project Access NOW did it in two days.”
“How everyone treated me made all the difference fighting this cancer,” writes Nancy in a letter of appreciation to Providence and Project Access NOW, “I felt safe and warm at the Shiloh Inn, I didn’t have to stress about driving home, feeling bad from treatments.
“I can’t say it enough: thank you to everyone who made this possible…to Ben and Providence…and Project Access NOW. Thanks to you, I am a survivor and now cancer-free. Thank you for my life.”