More than a dozen hotels in Omaha/Council Bluffs are now offering free rooms to cancer patients who have to travel a long distance to the metro for treatment. Mike Lefler, a spokesman for the American Cancer Society, says they’re very thankful for the hotel owners who’ve agreed to be a part of the program.
Lefler says, “When cancer patients are faced with a long drive to come to treatments for an extended period of time, we’re fortunate enough to have 15 hotels in the Omaha metro area that are available to give free lodging to cancer patients in active treatment.” Lefler says there are certain requirements that need to be met.
“You have to be driving more than 50-miles one-way to your destination and you have to be in active treatment,” Lefler says. “The other thing is, if you call in and it’s a busy time for hotels, if you’re calling in during College World Series time, it’s definitely based on availability, too, so you’re not guaranteed a room but most of the time, we can accommodate.” Lefler says those who have to travel to Omaha to receive treatment are left with few options, as many patients need daily or weekly treatments over a period of months.
“Once you’re diagnosed with cancer, there’s a thousand things that run through your mind,” he says. “One of those things may be where you’re going to stay and how you’re going to drive 50 to 100 miles to and from treatment five days a week for a number of weeks and by utilizing a guest room program like this, people have one less thing to worry about.” Lefler says the program does not cost the patient or the American Cancer Society a dime.
He says, “They do it as a community service because most of the hotels, the general managers, the employees have all seen first-hand, whether it’s themselves or family members or friends or loved ones that have gone through cancer and how devastating it can be.”
Participating hotels include: Best Western Seville Plaza, Candlewood Suites, Crown Plaza Hotel, Doubletree & EMC, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Convention Center and CoCo Key Water Resort, Holiday Inn-Downtown, Hilton Garden Inn-Downtown, Hilton Garden Inn-West, Hilton Omaha, Magnolia Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott-Aksarben Village, Premiere Suites of Omaha, Residence Inn and Studio Plus Omaha.