When you get slammed with a cancer diagnosis, figuring out the resources that help you is a HUGE part of the battle.
When my dad was first diagnosed with cancer, my whole life changed in an instant. The truth is, nothing has been the same since, and this journey has been long and really difficult. However, in the middle of all of the stress and the struggle emerged a few resources that help us tremendously and made this whole ordeal much easier for us to navigate.
The Empire Plan Insurance:
Of all of the resources that help, this is #1. If you work for the state of New York and you have the Empire Plan as your medical insurance and you get cancer, they are about to make your life so much easier. They have a Cancer Resource Services Program that includes the nation’s leading cancer treatment centers.
Anything rated by them as a Center of Excellence (Memorial Sloan Kettering is ours but there are more!), they will not only provide “paid in full” cancer-related treatment with no co-pays, but they will also help you (and a companion) cover meals and travel expenses.
This program is the only way that my family was able to afford the costs associated with getting treatment at Sloan Kettering and staying multiple times in the NYC (at one point for 7 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week). The insurance company helps us pay for meals, hotel rooms, train tickets, taxi’s, everything…
It’s absolutely unbelievable this program.
You have to put the money up front, and then they reimburse you. You have to provide receipts and you have to live within the amounts, for example, they pay $74 a day per person for meals… FYI, that is an insane amount of food!?!
If you don’t have the Empire Plan, I would call whatever insurance company you do have an ask if they have anything like this.
Here’s the deal, NOBODY KNEW ABOUT THIS, we certainly didn’t know, but a friend of daddy’s told us about it and we called (about eleven times to triple confirm!). So, it’s totally possible that other insurance companies have similar programs that no one knows about.
Ps: Don’t panic if your insurance company doesn’t offer this benefit… The American Cancer Society has got you covered. They provide a FREE place to stay… We haven’t used it, but I have heard FANTASTIC reviews.
Helmsley Medical Tower:
This has legitimately become our home away from home. We’ve spent a lot of nights here over the past 9 months.
As far as resources that help us, this one has saved us, a few times! My mom has some significant mobility issues and my dad acquired a rare neurological syndrome that affected everything (his eyesight, hearing, balance, and mobility) requiring a wheelchair. So, getting treatment in NYC means that they needed some help moving around the City.
That’s where I come in.
The Helmsley Medical Tower not only allowed us to all stay for the original price, they have gone above and beyond for my family. They have found rooms for us in the middle of the night when we were rushing into Sloan’s 24-hour urgent care and have extended our stay for multiple nights so that we could attend last minute appointments or stay for additional testing. The staff are FANTASTIC, professional and really helpful!
The rooms are exactly what we need. 2 double beds, a bathroom, a dinner table, a kitchen and a desk and chair where I can work. They offer options such as toilet seat risers and wheelchairs in the lobby in case you need them. We’ve borrowed those wheelchairs a few times!
This hotel is exactly 2 blocks from Sloan’s main hospital, and across the street from New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine (which is part of Cornell University) and the Hospital for Special Surgery are all on the same few blocks. Need to go to 53rd street? No problem. You can grab a shuttle at the main hospital or grab a 10-minute cab ride… up to you.
We don’t have an app like Seamless where I live. If I lived in the City, I would never cook again. No joke.
This is one of the resources that help, by making life easier (and way more fun!). With the touch of a button, Seamless gives you the menu of a TON of restaurants within the delivery area of where you are staying. There are hundreds of options in every kind of cuisine imaginable and most of the time its on your doorstep in about 30 minutes.
Seamless is like a vacation… No shopping, no cooking, and no dishes?!?!
Here’s how it works…
- Download the free app.
- Sign up (and add your delivery address).
- Get access to hundreds of menus and ratings for restaurants in your delivery area.
It’s that simple.
I was adamant since the beginning that I was not going to drive in the City (I actually have since then and it was no big deal, but at first it seemed really overwhelming).
Amtrak makes it easy to travel to NYC when you’re in a wheelchair. The FREE Red Cap service will handle all of your baggage and get you situated on the train so, you can enjoy a stress-free ride home.
They do all of the work, so you can just relax. When you’re looking for resources that help, this one couldn’t be any easier.
Cancer sucks and when everything is falling down around you, it’s nice to have a little bit of help! These four resources that help have made our cancer journey to NYC MUCH easier. ????
P.S. If you’re overwhelmed by all this cancer business, we can relate!
The Cancer Binder Pack will walk you through the quick and easy system we used for organizing medical information.
Step-by-step instructions, printable forms, and monthly calendar pages so you can ALWAYS find what you need when you need it. And, the best part it’s FREE…
This post may contain affiliate links. In order for us to maintain this website, some of the links in the above post may be affiliate links. This means that you can purchase the products we recommend at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products or services that we use and love and that we believe will add value to our readers.