Program helps cover the fuel costs for families who are required to travel for their children’s medical care.
This year, Irving Oil’s Fuel the Care program marked its 10th anniversary.
Over the past decade, Fuel the Care has provided fuel gift cards to over 35,000 families with children who require medical care throughout Atlantic Canada and New England.
Jess Cambridge and her family live in Brewer, Maine. Their daughter, Isabella Bertolino, was born missing 85% of her intestinal tract, the result of a disease called Short Gut Syndrome. Even though their primary physician was just a mile away at Eastern Maine Medical Center, there were no surgeons there who specialized in Isabella’s case. The Bertolinos needed to travel over 130 miles to Portland, Maine for Isabella’s surgeries.
“Fuel the Care has been a real help to my family. With daycare, working full time and having a child with significant health issues, the program has given my family peace of mind when dealing with long drives to Eastern Maine Medical,” said Cambridge. “When my child was sick it was almost impossible to think about anything else, from food shopping to paying our bills. Fuel the Care allows us to focus on our family when we travel and not on the expense, and I am grateful for that.”
Irving Oil’s Fuel the Care is administered to families in Maine through social workers and hospital administrators at EMHS. With many families facing monthly travel costs of several hundred dollars for accommodation, food and other necessities, Fuel the Care gives them one less thing to worry about.
“Fuel the Care means so much to the families – it’s a pleasant surprise to many of them and it’s nice to have good news to share with them at such a stressful time,” said Josh Scroggins, director of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of EMHS.
Four additional hospitals participate in the Fuel the Care program in Atlantic Canada and New England: the Saint John Regional Hospital in Saint John, NB; the Janeway Child Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. John’s, NL; the IWK Health Centre in Nova Scotia and the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (CHaD) in New Hampshire.
“Many of us have seen how devastating it is for a family when a child becomes ill. We know Fuel the Care does not solve all of their worries when their children face illness, but it does allow them to have one less thing to be concerned about,” said Mike Ashar, president of Irving Oil. “Over the last 10 years we have received tremendous, positive feedback from Fuel the Care families. So as the program continues to grow, we are proud to offer this service to ease the burden on families in communities throughout Maine.”
Since 2002, Irving Oil’s Fuel the Care program has helped nearly 35,000 families with seriously ill children throughout Atlantic Canada and New England. The program provides fuel gift cards to parents who must frequently travel to provide their children with urgent medical care. In addition to providing families with over $2 million in fuel gift cards, Fuel the Care has also provided $350,000 in funding for research into childhood diseases.