ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The price of gas continues to rise across the country and has forced cancer patients to decide if they can afford to drive to their life-saving appointments.
The inflation of gas and groceries has put emphasis on the need for fundraisers for those with cancer who live in rural parts of the Triad, including Rockingham County.
Jennifer Joyce, the Executive Director for the Barry L. Joyce Local Cancer Fund has tried to push that mission forward.
“Every year the need is bigger. . . Fundraisers like this are really crucial to do what we do,” Joyce said.
Her father started the organization after his battle with cancer. Its mission is to help families and cancer patients with the cost of going through the journey.
They specialize in helping Rockingham County families due to the lack of resources rural cancer patients have.
Joyce explained that the money goes to help teenagers to senior adults who come through their doors looking for help.
“When you’re going to the doctor so often. The copays, the gas for radiation. Gas going up like it is. There is no one exempt,” Joyce said.
Payments cover the cost of power bills, meals, medication, and gas/rides to and from cancer treatments and doctor’s appointments.
Out of the 75 to 100 patients Joyce’s organization helps, some turned to them after not being able to go to their appointments.
“There are people that literally skip treatment because they don’t have a ride to get there or the gas to get there,” Joyce said.
Rockingham County cancer patients spend upwards of 15 hours a week on the road going to and from treatments.
Those individuals have to drive to Chapel Hill for their treatments, but “that’s just radiation, not to mention Chemo-treatment, and appointments with their doctors,” according to Joyce.
Numbers show that in 2021, more than one-thousand trips were made for radiation treatment by Joyce’s patients.
That number will be higher in 2022, as more individuals are being diagnosed with cancer.
“During the pandemic, people just stopped going to the doctor. Now, we are seeing an increase in the number of people being diagnosed,” Joyce explained.
On May 21, the group will host a fundraiser to raise more money and awareness of the strain inflation has had on cancer families.
It is called Kegs and Corks – Kick Cancer Fundraiser and will run from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. in downtown Madison.
The money will remain local and will go to relieve the financial stress families remain under.