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Eastern KY to Cleveland for Cancer Treatments. How KLEF is helping.

Marcella Howard from Wittenville, KY is a recent Patron Program recipient. Her and her husband James (a veteran) are disabled. Early this year Marcella was diagnosed with a rare cancer behind her eye by Dr. Barr in Louisville and was referred to the Cleveland Clinic, which is the closest treatment available for this type of cancer. Because of her reduced vision, Marcella was unable to drive and her husband is unable to drive long distances due to his back injury and recent back surgery. Marcella explained to Dr. Barr that getting to the Cleveland Clinic was not possible for her in their situation and Dr. Barr referred her to the Foundation to seek help and he scheduled an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic for her for two weeks later. Mrs. Howard called the Foundation and spoke with Jennifer.

Because of the urgency of the situation, Jennifer sent her the application and then began researching medical transportation methods, calling the Cleveland Clinic to seek resources and connecting with a Lions Club in Cleveland. After many calls and emails and conversations with the Howard’s, a greyhound bus ride from Ashland to Cleveland became the best option to get Mrs. Howard to her appointment. Due to the bus schedule, a hotel stay was required and Jennifer contacted the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and was able to get a hotel stay donated for the time that the Howard’s were in Cleveland. The Lions Club in Cleveland agreed to send two volunteers to pick up the Howard’s from the bus station and take them to their hotel. One of the volunteers works at Cleveland Clinic so she assisted them in finding the doctor's office the next day.

This initial appointment confirmed that the original diagnosis was correct and a plan for treatment was created. Mrs. Howard would need surgery and it was scheduled for Friday, February 19th. At this time, Jennifer purchased another round of greyhound tickets for their surgery visit and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation generously donated 6 nights in a hotel for Mr. Howard as Marcella would be recovering in the hospital over the weekend. Unfortunately, due to a snow storm which cancelled all greyhound buses leaving Ashland on Thursday, February 18th the surgery had to be rescheduled. Jennifer was able to exchange the bus tickets at the Louisville Greyhound station and mail new tickets to the Howard's and the hotel was able to transfer the dates for their stay. She was able to have her surgery on March 12th. Luckily the surgeon was able to remove the cancer mass, however there were minor complications and she will need a few more treatments. The Patron Fund committee has continued to support Mrs. Howard in her travels for these appointments. Her next treatment is scheduled for June 28th - 30th. Please keep her in your thoughts as she continues on her cancer treatment journey.

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