Jacob’s Heart’s staff and trained volunteers not only provide pre-paid gas cards and rides to treatment, we provide comfort and experience as we accompany families on the journey from hospital to home.

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, very often one parent needs to quit a job in order to manage care. Children from our area in Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito and South Santa Clara Counties must travel great distances for their specialty care – there are no pediatric oncology facilities in our local community.

Jacob’s Heart’s transportation program is part of our family-centered care philosophy. Our drivers know our families well, some are volunteers which include a registered nurse, retired teacher, family counselor and other bilingual volunteers who accompany children to treatment, provide translation when needed, and visit other families while waiting to drive a family home after a procedure.

Mariela Medina, a three-time cancer survivor herself, drives low-income teens and pre-teens to treatment and uses the time in the car to comfort them. She accompanies the teens to their treatments and comforts their parents – she knows what it is like.

Jacob’s Heart was awarded a van from Oprah Winfrey in 2002, and that van was recently retired and replaced by two new Dodge Caravans.


Jacob’s Heart thanks  the Harden Family Foundation for providing matching funds and MyCars.Com – My Chevrolet in Salinas for generously donating the beautiful red van. Angels, indeed.

We also provide pre-paid gas cards to help families who own their own vehicles and have exhausted all other gas card resources. Because driving back and forth to treatment gets expensive, Jacob’s Heart is here to help with the journey either through referral to another ride program, providing a ride and ensuring that families have enough gas to get to treatment safely and on time.

This service is limited to low-income families of children with cancer living in the Jacob’s Heart service area. We work with the Partnership for Children and Care-a-Van for Kids to refer families of children with medical needs other than cancer.

Jacob’s Heart gives special thanks to Outrigger Santa Cruz for raising $16,000 for our transportation program. Paddling for kids so that they can make their journey. Mahalo!

Please contact Anabel at [email protected] or 831-724-9100 if you are a low-income family and have a child with cancer and need help with transportation. We’ll make every effort to find a ride for you or provide one ourselves so that your child never misses an appointment.

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