LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Established about a year ago, Covenant Health’s transportation department aims to ensure patients can get to the care and other services provided at Joe Arrington Cancer Research & Treatment Center (JACC).
“Through core leadership and with our social services, talking with our patients and their families, we kind of discovered that some people, quite a few people, were having a really difficult time getting here for access to their medical care,” Matt Kennelly, a valet, said. “The needs started becoming a little more obvious and with that they started looking at putting a plan in action. Then, it got implemented and thus we’ve come up with our transportation van.”
A free shuttle service for patients within Lubbock County has helped patients like Linda Tippit who otherwise wouldn’t be able to make it for treatment appointments.
“They can make sure that I am there every day that I need to be,” Tippit said. “I don’t miss treatment. I don’t miss radiation and I don’t miss chemo.”
She’s been battling lung cancer since 2017. She tells KCBD that with the transportation and transport personnel, she feels safe and ready for her fight.
“I can’t say enough how great they are to deal with,” Tippit said. “They are great to be around. You can trust them. They just do a wonderful service. They really do.”
Kennelly said he knows how resilient, courageous and fascinating the patients are. He is grateful to be part of their fight and helping with even just an open ear.
“They love to tell you their stories, their struggles, their accomplishments and they like to include you,” Kennelly said. “We are a small part, the transportation team, of helping them. They are very happy to tell you. If you have a good open ear and a big ear for them to talk, they will tell you everything about it. That helps them not only physically and medically but spiritually as well.”
Kennelly himself has been touched by cancer. His parents died from the disease right before his retirement from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Within a month and a half he applied for this job, continuing his passion for service.
“A person that wants help and needs help and asks for help, they deserve to have someone on this program and on this team that will understand what they are doing and listen to them and show them some compassion and treat them with some dignity,” Kennelly said.
Both Matt and Linda encourage patients to ask for help and seek services like this transportation.
For more information on JACC, click here.