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Local group working to provide fuel expenses for cancer patients

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Cancer treatments may be a must for anyone affected, but some folks here in Eastern Kentucky are being forced to put them on hold after a program used to fund fuel expenses was cut.

Now one local group believes it may have found an answer to get those patients back in the office.

You may take it for granted, but for some patients at Highlands Cancer Center driving to treatments comes at a hefty price.

"He brings me to my treatments and we travel about 40 miles one way," said Deloris Arrowood referring to her brother.

Arrowood has been getting cancer treatments for five years, but with the assistance of gas cards provided by the American Cancer Society her budget is one less thing to stress about.

However, recently the nonprofit cut that program leaving some patients stranded.

"With such a high incidence of poverty we really have a large number of patients who rely on these gas cards," said Dr. Kirti Jain, an oncologist at Highlands Cancer Center.

Some of the patients at Highlands Cancer Center say they go for treatments for several weeks at a time spending hundreds of dollars or more on gas, and they say without those gas cards it would be nearly impossible for them to make it to their treatments.

"Many of the patients either delay the treatment or occassionally don't even have the treatments simply because they can't pay for their transportation," said Dr. Jain.

But he and his colleagues saw a cure for the problem, deciding to start a 5K to raise money specifically for the need.

Barbara Miller travels 80 miles, five days a week for treatments.

We asked what went through her mind when she learned gas cards would no longer be provided. Her answer: "Oh no."

She sees the 5K as hope.

"Get out there, you know, anything, anything. run, walk, however you can do to get there," said Miller.

Spreading hope by putting one foot in front of the other.

The Highlands Run, Walk or Crawl Color 5k will be November 30 in Prestonsburg.

Dr. Jain says folks participating can expect it to be extra "colorful" following in the footsteps of other popular 5Ks like Color Me Rad and The Color Run.

All proceeds will go to benefit travel expenses for cancer patients.

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