organizes free rides to the hospital for poor children with cancer
Many children and their families find it difficult to get reliable, affordable transportation
own son, Emilio
, to leukemia in 2000: "It's like he's
still with me"
That's where Richard Nares
, who lost his
, to cancer in 2000, started a program called "Ride With Emilio" to provide transportation for low-income families and their children battling cancer.
"No child should miss their cancer treatment due to lack of transportation," Nares
Richard Nares lost his son, Emilio, in 2000. Emilio was diagnosed in 1998 with leukemia.
, in 2000.
was diagnosed in 1998 with leukemia.
wife had a large support system, flexible jobs and understanding employers.
"We had rides to the hospital to bring Emilio
"We had our brothers and sisters and neighbors bring us hot meals."
met many families along the way who didn't have such support: Single moms forced to take leave from jobs without pay, kids having to ride the bus alone to their chemotherapy appointments, siblings left home alone.
said it broke his
"It's extremely tough, not just emotionally, but now financially," he
started picking up families in his
"I was going every day, picking up families all over the county," he
Soon, however, Nares
couldn't handle the number of requests that were coming in. So he
teamed up with nurses and social workers from Rady
to create a formal transportation program.
He hired a driver, formalized a schedule for pickups and drop-offs and started the Emilio Nares Foundation in 2003.
One of the first children Nares helped was a 1-year-old boy with a brain tumor who required frequent chemotherapy treatments.
With no car, the boy's mother had to leave her
home at 4 a.m. and take four buses to get her
son to an 8:30 a.m. appointment.
"It was over four hours one way by bus," Nares
"And after the whole day of chemotherapy, it was the same amount of time back."
foundation stepped in, saving them a significant amount of travel time each day.
group provides more than 2,500 rides a year, traveling more than 70,000 miles.
group offers translation services and an on-site resource center at Rady
to help them navigate the often-complex insurance systems, legal issues and medical diagnoses.
"Most of the families that we're dealing with are not just low-income, but they are living in poverty," Nares
On Saturday, Nares
will begin his
"Richard Runs California" fundraiser to help children fighting cancer.
will run 700 miles over 30 days, starting in San Francisco and ending in San Diego.
work not only saves children's lives, but it keeps Emilio's memory alive as well.
really is the force," Nares