The Iowa Chapter of the American Cancer Society and the Iowa Lodging Association have joined together to offer free hotel and motel rooms for cancer patients and their caregivers who must travel out of their hometown for treatment.

Cancer Society spokesperson, Lauren Lukaszewski, says the new agreement will expand and continue the program. She says they had a contract with a chain of hotels that got new management and no longer wanted to provide the rooms. Lukaszewski says they realized there was a statewide need, and decided to partner with the Iowa Lodging Association.

Lukaszewski says the program is intended to help people who have to seek treatment outside their home community. Lukaszewski says they focus on areas where cancer centers pull in people from other areas. Patients have to travel 50 miles or more to receive a room at no charge. Curt Miller of the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames says the association is happy to help.

Miller says it’s a stressful time if you have cancer and are getting treatment, and some people can’t afford a place to stay, and that adds to their stress. Miller knows firsthand what it’s like to see family members undergo cancer treatment. He says both of his parents have had cancer and survived, and he says it is stressful for families, and the association wants to do what it can to help.

Lukaszewski says cancer patients and their families should check to see if they might qualify for the service. Lukaszewski says you can find out more on the Cancer Society’s website, or by calling 800-227-2345, or if you are getting treatment at a hospital that is linked to the Cancer Society, the hospital can help you get in touch with them.

The Cancer Society’s website is: The rooms are available Sunday through Thursday nights and room requests will be filled when there is space available.