Many cancer patients are forced to make long drives to get to their treatment, spending thousands of dollars in gas. But one under-utilized program in the Tri-Cities is helping patients get to where they need to be without going broke.
For Melody Winslow, it's been a summer full of lessons she thought she would never have to learn.
"They tell you your hair is gonna fall out, but they don't tell you it's gonna hurt before it does," Winslow said.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in May, the Hermiston woman began regular trips to the Tri-Cities to receive chemotherapy. That's when she learned another lesson; that the cost of cancer isn't just in the treatment. "It was a 95 mile trip, and with gas prices, I couldn't afford it," she said.
The once long commute has now been reduced to a short walk from her RV that's now located in the parking lot behind the Tri-Cities Cancer Center. She gets sewer, water and power services through the center all free.
"When they're undergoing treatment, they're tired, they're undergoing emotional stress, and they can come back and they do truly have a home base," said Michael Novakovich, Marketing and Public Relations Director at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center.
The mini RV park has enough room for 4 patients, but since moving in, Melody has been the sole resident. She hopes others will take advantage of this hidden resource that has truly become a life saver for her
"It's just, I don't know what I would have done without it. I wouldn't have been able to afford the gas to keep coming. It's marvelous. It's one of the better kept not secret secrets," she said.
The 4 spots are open for anyone receiving cancer treatment in the Tri-Cities, not just at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center. As for Melody, she has one more chemotherapy treatment before flying to San Antonio for reconstructive surgery.