Generally, we focus on financial assistance for healthcare needs, but today we’re reviewing other opportunities that I think most of you can get on board with: fun entertainment activities and other free help for patients, caregivers, and their families. Think huge - sports activities, outdoor activities from warm weather to winter activities, theater, arts, museums and parks.
And near the end of the article, I will include a few unique opportunities.
What I would like to emphasize most is, even if you don’t think you qualify or if you think they don’t offer free or discounted tickets, don’t be afraid to ask. You may be surprised at what is available.
Let’s start with professional sports like the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and WNBA. All arenas have special seating for handicapped patrons, and as you know, the NFL is always showing how they like to give back to the community. They also have provided steeply discounted tickets to events, including the Superbowl for disabled fans. One of our Coaches secured a great seat at a huge discount by requesting tickets based on his myeloma disability. He suggests you go directly to the website or contact the head or upper management of the venue for assistance and not the ticket office. This is relevant for all the sports leagues
For those of you who enjoy nature at its best, take a moment to research opportunities to visit our national parks. Discounts or free access are available, as well as easy access to many of the parks for disabled persons. Go to: disabilityresource.org to get your pass.
Do you want to get in shape or get stronger? Livestrong at the YMCA offers free physical training for cancer patients. The organization believes that rebuilding strength and returning to physical activity is one of the most challenging experiences many face after surviving cancer. Their program addresses this issue by connecting cancer survivors with personal trainers. Exercise programs are then designed for the specific needs of the survivor. This opportunity extends for 12 weeks at no cost or at a discounted rate. They have conducted surveys showing measurable benefits to the cancer survivors participating in the program. The survey determined that participants are less likely to experience fatigue and other common lingering symptoms when recovering from cancer.
Movie theaters may offer discount tickets to disabled persons and may enable their caregivers or their accompanying guests a free seat. Call your local theater box office to find out about opportunities near you.
Free Vacations and Day Trips
Daily and weekly appointments and stress can take a toll on healing. These are free vacations and day trips for patients and families. Reach out to specific programs for applications, or visit this link.
Deliver the Dream Family Retreat can offer three-day retreats for those who live in the US and have a family member diagnosed with cancer. It will pay for lodging, activities, all group meal expenses, and indoor and outdoor activities.
Camp Wieser Family Getaway offers a three-day retreat with all expenses covered except travel expenses.
Live By Living Retreats provides free retreats for adult cancer survivors and their caregivers in the US with nature-centric respite activities.
Harmony Hill offers a gentle retreat for men and women at no cost. It includes yoga and other gentle activities.
Faces of Courage Retreats programs are free for adults and children with cancer at any stage. These programs encourage community support, offer fun activities, and are focused on thriving as a survivor.
Reel Recovery Fly Fishing is an organization that conducts free fly fishing retreats for men aged 21 and over in any stage of treatment, recovery, or in complete remission from all forms of cancer at no cost except travel cost, which is the responsibility of the participants.
Reeling and Healing Midwest is an organization that provides a free fly-fishing retreat for women diagnosed with cancer who are 18 years old or older.
Kick Cancer Overboard is an organization that provides a free vacation cruise for a cancer survivor and one guest. This program has limited space.
Now when you travel, whether by air or land, contact the service provider, such as airlines or trains ahead of time and ask about disability access. Also, inquire into rental car services that may be available.
Here is a service that’s not a vacation but may make you feel like you’re on one.
You know how a clean home can affect your mood and add to your wellness. I have witnessed firsthand how difficult it is to maintain an organized and tidy home when struggling with cancer treatment. Cleaning for a Reason provides free home cleaning services to cancer patients and their families. Residential cleaners, cleaning industry volunteers, and community volunteers come together to provide these services which are available to patients in the US and Canada.
Tips to Find Resources - Just Ask
So many organizations offer free and/or reduced costs to patients. It doesn’t hurt to ask about any services you need.
Here are some tips to help you find disability discounts. One of the best ways to learn about getting freebies and discounts is by checking the websites of the country’s various federal departments and agencies. Other opportunities may be found by:
- Connecting with communities and social groups
- Conducting a local search for organizations in your area that assist people with disabilities.
- Signing up for newsletters on websites helping people with special needs or disabilities.
- Using specialty websites or search engines that cater specifically to the needs of people with disabilities, such as Benefitscheckup.org.
- Staying up to date with the latest news thanks to websites such as Disability Scoop and Disability World. The former specializes in developmental disability news, while the latter provides disability-related news.
- Cancer Care News provides various information and links regarding freebies and discounts that disabled and cancer patients can use.
And remember, many of them are for families, not just the cancer patient, and some even include caregivers. Others provide respite for children of cancer patients for a chance for them to have respite time away and find support and friendships from other children experiencing similar home experiences.
And finally, here is a unique opportunity! Do you want to get married or renew your marriage vows?
Wish Upon a Wedding brings together wedding and event professionals who volunteer their time, energy, and love to grant wedding ceremonies and vowel renewal ceremonies to couples facing serious illness or life-altering health conditions so they may celebrate their love with family and friends.
There may be a world of possibilities and opportunities for you and your family just waiting to refill your emotional and physical gas tank.
As the Financial Program Manager with HealthTree, Diahanna and her team of Financial Coaches work to help myeloma patients navigate the cost of myeloma. Coaches are available to help patients and caregivers discover any financial resources they are eligible for to ease the costs of cancer care. The HealthTree Coach program is free and open to all patients and caregivers to receive personalized support.
about the author
Diahanna is the Financial Program Manager for the HealthTree Foundation, specializing in financial help for multiple myeloma and AML patients. As a professional financial consultant and former caregiver of her husband who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, Diahanna perfectly understands the financial issues facing myeloma patients.