Margaret Gray never had a baby that needed special care close to home, but she knows the challenge of travel for health care.
Gray, a member of the Saint Joseph London Foundation board, is an enthusiastic supporter of the new Neonatal Specialty Care Unit at Saint Joseph London because she knows the tolls of travel for health care. Her husband, Gary, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in February 2006 and the family needed to seek care elsewhere, first in Lexington and then in Nashville.
“Seeking second opinions and advanced care … it’s very taxing,” she said.
Her husband was diagnosed with cancer by doctors in London, but needed to travel elsewhere for the second opinions and advanced treatments in hopes that a clinical trial might help to extend his life. Sadly, Gary died in April 2007.
Her life experience was one reason Gray got involved with the Saint Joseph London Foundation. The Foundation’s Galas and other fundraising efforts have supported local care close to home.
“Local is important when medical emergencies occur or when patients are in need of long-term medical care,” she said. “It’s devastating for families when dealing with newborn health issues, then add to that the cost of travel, food, lodging … it’s all overwhelming.”
Those added burdens put a damper on what should be the most exciting time in a young family’s life.
“If you think about a newborn and all of the excitement that comes with their birth, and then to find out your baby needs specialty care and all the costs and challenges added to that,” she said. “To be able to stay home and not have to travel, not have to pay those extra expenses … it’s just crucially important.
“It helps not just the family with the financial challenges, but the baby as well because the family can be more a part of the baby’s care.”