North Platte family finds relief with Hope Lodge during cancer treatment

North Platte family finds relief with Hope Lodge during cancer treatment (NTV News)

Many families across Nebraska are traveling far distances in order to receive medical treatment, including one North Platte man who was diagnosed with stage four cancer.

Keith and Holly Howe say the long drive has been worth it - in order to get the proper treatment.

Keith Howe said facing lymphoma cancer was already difficult, but what made it even harder was having to travel hundreds of miles to Omaha just for treatment.

"My schedule was more like I was there for a week, I was off for 2-3 days and then I'd go back for a week, and then I was off for not quite two weeks and then I'd start the pattern all over again," Keith said.

Initially, his doctors in North Platte were unsure what was causing his illness, so Howe's doctors recommended he go to the Nebraska Medical Center.

"The doctor here in town was fantastic but he's the one who says I'm 99 percent sure its not infectious disease but I want you to go to Omaha to make sure I'm not missing something," Keith said. "It gains a lot of my respect when you have a doctor saying 'I'm pretty sure I'm right but I want other opinions because this is odd,'" Keith said.

Once diagnosed with stage four cancer, and Keith was hospitalized for weeks. Holly, who was driving him to his visits, would need a place to stay.

"He had a couch that folded into a bed in his room so I was able to stay in his room with him more," Holly said. "They had shower facilities for families. He obviously was getting meals in the hospital but they had very inexpensive meals so when he got his meal I was able to get mine."

The Howes said money goes fast when treating cancer.

"By the time we got to the cancer diagnosis, we had blown through our savings. Even though we had really good experience, we had gone through two deductibles because it was over two calendar years," Holly said.

They said staying in Keith's room was the best option for Holly.

"Financially I was thinking all this time in Omaha- I'm going to have to stay in a hotel how are we going to pay for this when I'm not working. We had very good insurance, but insurance doesn't pay for a hotel room for your spouse," Holly said.

Just last week, the American Cancer Society opened their newest project - Hope Lodge Nebraska.

The facility provides free housing for patients and their families traveling to Omaha for cancer treatment.

Those who stay at the facility receive free transportation to their local treatment centers.

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