Jennifer Larson longs for the days before she was diagnosed with breast cancer, when simple things like driving were not a daily challenge.
The Escondido mother of four is on the road to recovery now after undergoing a double mastectomy this summer, but transportation remains a problem for her while she is completing her chemotherapy treatment this fall.
“It’s not safe for me to drive after my treatments for a week,” said Larson, 42, who travels to Scripps La Jolla for her chemotherapy infusion appointments. “Not being able to drive puts me in a bind because I have to spend time looking for someone to give me a ride to and from my appointments, which can last four to six hours,” she said. Her husband has been very supportive, providing numerous rides already to various appointments but he is running out of sick days to take from work, she said.
Fortunately for Larson, Scripps is currently offering its breast cancer patients free or reduced-rate rides to and from medical appointments, courtesy of its partnership in San Diego with Ford Warriors in Pink and Lyft, the app-based, ride-sharing service.
The campaign runs through the end of the year and is part of Ford Warriors in Pink’s Good Day Project, the organization’s public call to action to help bring “more good days” to people living with breast cancer.
“This program is so essential to breast cancer patients like Jennifer,” said Beverly Mangerich, nurse educator at Scripps Polster Breast Care Center. “Many women are surprised by the number of medical appointments that they have to go to after being diagnosed. It can put a strain on family and friends,” she said.
Larson used Lyft to get to her most recent chemotherapy treatment after downloading the Lyft app into her iPad and entering the “free ride” code she received from the Polster Center, where she is also active in a support group. When she was ready to leave for the 30-minute ride to and from her chemotherapy treatment appointment, she tapped the Lyft icon on her tablet and was picked up by a Lyft driver within minutes.
“Transportation has been one of my biggest challenges as a mom who is dealing with breast cancer,” Larson said. “That is why the Lyft service has been a lot of help. It is really taking something off my plate and making my life a little easier,” she said.
A recent analysis published in the Journal of Community Health concluded that transportation barriers to health care access are common in the United States. Research in the analysis showed that 25 percent of patients missed an appointment due to transportation issues.
Lyft credits worth up to $40 (depending on travel distance) are available to Scripps breast cancer patients at the Polster center at Scripps La Jolla, Emily Fenton Hunte Breast Care Center at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, O’Toole Breast Care Center at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego and Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista Outpatient Imaging. Free ride credit codes will be distributed until Dec. 31.
In addition to teaming up with Scripps, Ford Warriors in Pink and Lyft are also running a digital campaign across the nation that awards breast cancer patients two Lyft rides (worth $20).
Lyft is a welcoming, affordable ride within minutes. Simply request and go. Lyft launched in San Francisco in June 2012 and is now in more than 65 cities across the country. Beyond providing communities with safe, reliable rides, Lyft aims to be a force for good. Inspired by the countless Lyft drivers who’ve taken initiative to give back to their own communities, Lyft works with nonprofits and its driver community to create positive social impact, one ride at a time.
Ford’s commitment in the fight against breast cancer runs well beyond raising funds. The company is dedicated to making a difference 365 days a year by encouraging women to become informed and visit their doctors, educating them about how early detection saves lives. To date, Ford has dedicated more than $128 million to the cause. The entire 2015 Ford Warriors in Pink collection is available at www.fordcares.com. A full 100 percent of net proceeds from sales go to support organizations fighting breast cancer including The Pink Fund, Susan G. Komen, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and Young Survival Coalition.
Learn more about Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated health system in San Diego, Calif.