Dylan’s story. His family had to travel to hospital up to four times a week costing £200 a month in fuel
Dylan was diagnosed with leukaemia at just two years old after his Mum and Dad noticed he was getting unexplained bruises and seemed more tired than usual. As his Mum called 111, a rash appeared so they were sent an ambulance and he was diagnosed later that day.
Dylan went on to have chemotherapy treatment at Birmingham Children’s hospital, which meant he would often have to go into hospital three or four times a week. Dylan and his parents, Rachael and Russell, would have to travel from home to hospital which could take up to an hour in traffic each way.
Not only would this cost a lot in time and money for Dylan’s family but it would also be emotionally exhausting. Due to the side effects of his treatment, travel became uncomfortable for Dylan and he didn’t want to get into the car to go to hospital.
“It got to the point where we would go in the car and he would be screaming and crying because he knew he was going to hospital, because we didn’t go anywhere else, that was the only place we were going. He got to the point where he wouldn’t even put his shoes or coat on because he knew that his shoes meant he was going in the car, to go to hospital
“One day he was in so much pain with his lumbar puncture and his bum being really sore that he couldn’t sit down, we couldn’t strap him into the car seat he was screaming. We got to the end of the road and we were like ‘he’s got to go to hospital, he’s got to have his chemo, we can’t get him in the car seat he’s in physical pain, what do we do?’ We rang the hospital and we said can we reschedule because he’s in too much pain to be in the car seat. They said ‘we’ll send an ambulance, because he has to have the chemo at this day at this time, it’s in the plan’ That shocked us with how important every single bit of the treatment is, it can’t just be arranged for the next day.”
Rachael and Russell would alternate driving to the hospital so one parent would go in with Dylan and the other would travel home and come back to pick them up. However, there were a few times only one parent could go, which meant paying for parking on top of fuel.
“The parking is an absolute nightmare. If there’s two of us available, and obviously only one of us can go in, we’ll drive up there and we’ll drop the other one off so all journeys are in the car so it’s petrol, but it’s not parking. But then when I’m at work and he’ll go by himself, he went the other day and he was there for a few hours and it was £20 parking. We’re going three or four times a week sometimes.”
Their Young Lives vs Cancer social worker was able to help with some financial grants to cover the costs of fuel and parking, which was a big help when they were struggling to find the money to cover the costs. However, the grants couldn’t cover everything.
We’re calling on governments across the UK for a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund to help cover the cost of travelling to treatment for all young cancer patients.
Posted on Friday 28 July 2023