When a child is diagnosed with cancer, very often one parent needs to quit a job in order to manage care. Children from our area in Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito and South Santa Clara Counties must travel great distances for their specialty care – there are no pediatric oncology facilities in our local community.
Jacob’s Heart’s transportation program is part of our family-centered care philosophy. Our drivers know our families well, some are volunteers which include a registered nurse, retired teacher, family counselor and other bilingual volunteers who accompany children to treatment, provide translation when needed, and visit other families while waiting to drive a family home after a procedure.
Mariela Medina, a three-time cancer survivor herself, drives low-income teens and pre-teens to treatment and uses the time in the car to comfort them. She accompanies the teens to their treatments and comforts their parents – she knows what it is like.
Jacob’s Heart was awarded a van from Oprah Winfrey in 2002, and that van was recently retired and replaced by two new Dodge Caravans.