Local Hotels Offer Free Stays for Cancer Patients

April 25, 2012

Program Alleviates Burden of Traveling Long Distances for Treatment

When fighting cancer, the thought of driving home after undergoing treatment – especially if you don’t live in the community where you’re receiving help – can be difficult. A new program provides cancer patients and a caregiver who live more than 50 miles away from ThedaCare Cancer Care at the Martha Siekman Cancer Center with a free hotel stay.

Led by the American Cancer Society, several hotels in the Fox Cities offer free stays to patients undergoing cancer treatments at a hospital more than 50 miles away from their home. Tricia Morrell, a care navigator/oncology social worker at the cancer center, which is located at Appleton Medical Center (AMC), said such a stay can be a real blessing to patients.

“Let’s face it: Sometimes, you don’t feel the greatest after some treatments and riding back and forth to the hospital – especially if you have several treatments scheduled during the same week – can be very daunting,” she said. “Many patients and their families travel a considerable distance to receive the care they need and the stress of coordinating rides and the expenses that go with all that travel in the midst of something already stressful can just sometimes be too much.”

In the Fox Cities, Candlewood Suites, Days Inn, and Country Inn & Suites provide free weeknight stays to patients and a caregiver to patients living more than 50 miles away through the American Cancer Society program. For patients who don’t live that far, some local hotels will offer a discount.

“Having cancer often brings a difficult set of challenges,” said Michelle Hansen, senior program specialist, Transportation and Lodging for the American Cancer Society’s Midwest Division.  “When your best option for treatment means having to travel, it can be a burden. It’s wonderful these hotels have graciously agreed to help reduce that burden for cancer patients being treated in the area.”

Days Inn manager Katie Beckmann said the hotel is excited to be a part of the American Cancer Society’s free lodging program. “Giving back to the community is something we feel very strongly about and this program fills that role,” she said. “Every month, we try to donate to some organization either locally or nationwide to show our support. It’s all about giving back to the community that supports you.”

In addition, AMC has a Guest House available to family members of hospitalized patients and patients undergoing cancer treatment for a $15 donation per night.

“It is such a blessing to have so many free or low-cost options for patients and families to stay locally to help alleviate some of the stress and allow them to focus more on their treatment and
recovery,” Morrell said.

AMC is a 160-bed acute care hospital that opened in 1958. In addition to general medical and surgical care, services include the Appleton Heart Institute, a fully staffed emergency department, pediatrics, birthing services, a comprehensive cancer center, and ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus, which integrates orthopedics, sports medicine, outpatient rehabilitation and other services. Appleton Medical Center is an accredited Chest Pain Center by the national Society of Chest Pain Centers.

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, ThedaCare At Work, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.