FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Karina Rusk 831-759-1843

SVMHS Unveils Miracle Mobile

SALINAS, CA, MAY 23, 2017- Children in the tri county area traveling to chemotherapy appointments in the Bay Area have something better than Uber – their parents can call the Miracle Mobile. It’s a brightly colored car carrying the sickest of children to places of hope and healing. The program is thanks in part to people donating to the Children’s Miracle Network balloon campaign.

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS) part of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) recently unveiled the Miracle Mobile. SVMHS is fully funding the 2015 Toyota Prius Miracle Mobile now being used to transport children with life threatening illnesses to any Bay Area hospital for specialized treatment. Families in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito County are benefitting from this service.

“Some families don’t have access to vehicles,” says Melissa Gross, Program Manager for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “Some families can’t afford the travel expenses and others find it very difficult to travel long distances with sick children. Salinas Valley Memorial is proud to help provide this transportation service to families. We are helping to provide peace of mind to parents and we’re also helping to increase access to compassionate medical care to the children in our community.”

Salinas Valley Memorial is collaborating with the local nonprofit Partnership for Children to carry out this transportation service. Partnership for Children has been providing transportation, financial assistance and family support services for children with life-threatening conditions in the tri-county area since 2007. In 2016, Partnership for Children served 176 kids with transportation services to and from medical appointments and also provided gas subsidies to families who could not afford to pay for gas. Of those 176 kids, 77 received a total of 322 rides. This year the need for transportation continues to increase. From January to April, 142 rides have been provided to sick children.

“The transportation service we provide families is critical in ensuring that the children we serve maintain access to crucial medical care,” says Jennifer Ramirez, Executive Director of Partnership for Children. “We are grateful to Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System for partnering with us, for their unwavering support, compassion and dedication to the community. Many families will continue to benefit from this program.”

Two people benefiting from this transportation service is four-year-old Manuel Montoya known as Manny and his mom Patricia Montoya. Manny was born with a heart condition and with leukemia. He was just a few days old, when he underwent open-heart surgery and soon after underwent chemotherapy treatments. He was also diagnosed with a mild case of Down Syndrome and autism. Manny is now cancer free and his mom is grateful for this service.

“I’m a single mom, I don’t have a car or a driver’s license,” says Patricia Montoya, Manny’s mom. “Even if I could drive, I wouldn’t want to drive all the way to San Francisco for his doctor appointments. It’s tough taking care of Manny and traveling long distances. This is a wonderful program, they even provide car seats. It relieves some of the stress.”

Another local child benefiting from this service is three-year-old Savannah Leach. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments for kidney cancer. Her mother Stephanie Leach has been relying on this transportation service since December of 2016. She says her husband is the only one who works in the family and can’t take them to doctors’ appointments.

“I am very appreciative of this service,” says Stephanie Leach, Savannah’s mother. “There have been times when my daughter has been very sick from the chemotherapy treatments, and thanks to this program I’ve been able to sit with her in the back of the car and take care of her. Savannah and I really like the drivers, they are patient and will make stops whenever necessary. They are amazing!”

Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) is a national charity dedicated to helping hospitals help kids. Since partnering with Children’s Miracle Network in 1989, the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation has donated over $11 million to children’s medical services throughout the Central Coast. All of the money donated stays local. For more information on how to donate visit svmhfoundation.org. For information on Partnership for Children visit www.partnerforkids.org.