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Local organization donates $2,500 to PMC's cancer assistance fund

The cost of cancer treatment

POCATELLO, Idaho - On Tuesday afternoon one local organization donated $2,500 to the Portneuf Medical Center in order to help cancer patients pay for transportation and fuel costs when seeking treatment from the hospital.

Darsi Johnson is a broker with ERA Brokerage, who raised the money through the "Nobody Fights Alone" fun run held in August. She said every year the company decides to host one event which gives back to the community, but this event took-off into something they want to expand every year.

"This year we have one of our agents who is battling cancer so we decided to make this a fundraiser based on that cause and it was successful enough that I think it will turn to that on an annual basis," Johnson said. 

The money will go into PMC's Cancer Patient Assistance fund which helps patients undergoing treatment pay for the cost of fuel and transportation.

On Tuesday afternoon, the same day the check was presented to the hospital, cancer patient John George was celebrating his final treatment session after two years, where he is now cancer-free.

"If it weren't for my family, my close friends, and the hospital, I wouldn't be here today," George said. 

Since PMC has the region's only cancer center, patients have to visit from across eastern Idaho for treatment, and at first George had to commute from his hometown of Moore on a daily basis, often times with assistance from close friends and family who helped drive him to his appointments. And that became costly just with the price of gas alone.

But this assistance fund helps those patients pay for that cost, and even provides RV hookups and a cancer guest house for patients commuting from outside of the area.

"If it wasn't for the cancer center, I would be busted," George said. "I wouldn't even have treatment. At first I had to come out everyday which cost me hundreds of dollars every week but then this center here helped me out on fuel."

George said his wife succumbed to cancer in 2004 and the treatment alone cost his family close to one million dollars in just one month.

"I wish I had come to Portneuf, which could have saved some money in expenses. If I had, I truly think she would be alive today," George added.

Although treatment gets expensive, the cost of helping with transportation makes a difference, and Johnson noted the $2,500 raised just isn't enough to help everyone.

"It's never enough. There's always a need and as community members, it's our responsibility to help assist with that need," Johnson said.

But to George, there are some aspects of treatment you just can't put a price on.

The hospital treats more than 400 patients at its cancer center annually.

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