“It was really, really great,” Ulla Rasmussen said.
That's how she describes her stay at a local hotel. But, unlike other guests, Rasmussen wasn't checking in for travel or business.
She came because of cancer.
“I was diagnosed in December, around December 1st,” Rasmussen said.
For her and her boyfriend, Kevin Kubicek, that meant expediting their move to Lincoln, and finding a place to stay in the meantime.
“We had enough to worry about both with treatments, cancer, moving,” Rasmussen said. “It was just everything coming down at once.”
That's where the American Cancer Society stepped in.
“Its a program that really helps ease the burden of someone stricken with cancer,” said Mike Lefler, Regional Director of Communications for ACS. “It allows them to think about their treatment rather than how they're going to get to their treatment or how they're going to afford to pay for a hotel room.”
That program is the guestroom program. It provides free hotel rooms to cancer patients coming over 50 miles to Lincoln and other Nebraska communities for treatment.
Its something important for those like Rasmussen who said travel wouldn't have been possible.
“I had doctor's appointments basically every single day for two, three weeks,” she said.
But, it is not just about convenience. Lefler said, at times, the program has been lifesaving.
“We've actually heard from a few patients who said they may have foregone their treatment if they hadn't had a place to stay because they simply couldn't afford driving back and forth or they couldn't afford a place to stay while they were here for two weeks,” Lefler said.
Rasmussen and Kubicek said, for them, it was not just about having a place to stay. It was also about having the small comforts of home, like being able to bring their dog with them and the kindness of everyone who helped them.
“I don't think I have words for it. I'm so thankful,” Rasmussen said. “I don't think they could have done more than they did, and I could never ask for more.
Hotels in these communities are also offering the service: Beatrice, Columbus, Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk, North Platte, York and Omaha.