Last year on Mother’s Day our mom passed away after a battle with cancer. She loved the outdoors, and was a friend to many who needed a friend in a difficult time. In her honor, we're launching Mother's Day Milers - a cycling fundraiser to support rural families facing cancer. Our goal: to ride 4,000 miles over the next 6 months – riding mile for dollar up to $4,000 through your donations. Proceeds will support our brother-in-law, Max and his family - a rural family currently facing cancer recurrence, and Kathy's House, Inc. - a non-profit hospital guest that serves patients of all ages and their caregivers who need to travel to Milwaukee for medical care. Our goal is $2,000 for each. How can you help? It's easy. Be a virtual rider with us by making a donation via this GoFundMe page.
Kathy's House is a hospital guest house committed to providing affordable lodging and caring support in a "home away from home" environment for patients and their families who need to travel to Milwaukee for medical care. Since opening in 2001, Kathy’s House has provided lodging, a supportive environment, and amenities such as transportation to area hospitals to more than 17,000 individuals.
Many families who stay at Kathy’s House are from low or fixed income households. By providing access to care for these families, we help address a profound societal ill; health disparities among low income and underrepresented groups such as families living in rural areas. The majority of Kathy’s House guests live in rural areas or cities much smaller than Milwaukee. By providing housing for these patients and their family members while they are obtaining advanced medical treatment in Milwaukee, Kathy’s House is helping to reduce these health disparities.
Due to mounting healthcare costs, lost wages, and travel costs, many families traveling to Milwaukee for medical care are unable to afford hotels. Studies show that a medical diagnosis, including cancer, brings financial burden to families. One third of guests report incomes <$30,000, and many of these low-income families include children. They are able to donate little, if anything, toward the cost of their stays.
The actual cost per night to stay at Kathy’s House is $87. Our average guest donation is $32 per night. Yet, Kathy’s House does not turn anyone away due to an inability to pay; we know that there are significant consequences in doing so. Forty percent of our guests have indicated they would not have been able to access medical care without a facility such as Kathy’s House.
More about the needs of rural families facing cancer:
A cancer diagnosis presents particularly significant issues for rural residents and providers. Depending on stage and site, cancer typically requires expensive treatments from multiple specialists, and the disease and treatment can make it difficult for patients to drive or even walk. Those living in large rural towns must travel a median of 51 minutes to get to any specialized oncology care, and In order to reach the nearest academic-based care, they must travel a median of 83 minutes. Exacerbating these issues, rural populations are more socioeconomically disadvantaged, and some patients face financial barriers to transportation, including not having enough money for gas or even a car. There is also the issue of lodging - for both patients and families - which for rural families can be an impediment to receiving needed care. For Kathy's House one of our two beneficiaries, they report that 40% of patient guests they serve, would not have been able to access needed medical care without the guest house.