High gas prices force the family to borrow gas to drive their daughter to cancer treatment

15-year-old Jinger Vincent’s health depends on her family having enough money to buy gas to take her to her doctor’s appointments. Vincent, a lifelong athlete, was diagnosed with bone cancer more than a year ago.

“The first thought I had was, don’t cry,” Vincent told CBS News. “I was in front of my parents and I wanted to be strong for them.”

Her father, Keith Vincent, said “it’s hard” to see his daughter, who was once alive and well and is now “wasting away in bed” during the most difficult time of her illness.

She has undergone chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, including replacing part of her femur and recent lung surgery. She now has medical and physical therapy appointments almost every other day and is often up to an hour from her home in rural Indiana. With gas prices more than doubling in the past year, parents Keith and Analiza Vincent are now spending more than $200 a week on gas, money they don’t always have.

“Let’s pay the mortgage first,” Analiza Vincent said. “Let’s pay most of the bills. But at the end of the day I said, ‘Wait a minute, we don’t have money for gas.’ So in the end I’m going straight into the money. This is our best friend right now. ”

These are short-term, high-interest loans that they rely on to afford transportation to their daughter’s appointments. They’ve been saving on groceries, a sacrifice Jinger has noticed.

“You have to watch them, ‘We have to foot this bill. We have to foot this.’ And I’m downstairs listening to all of it. It just seems so stressful and I feel bad for her,” Jinger told Vincent.

In order to travel less, the Vincents have temporarily been given temporary accommodation near the hospital by the Ronald McDonald House. Families visiting the Ronald McDonald House in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana often travel long distances — an average of 164 miles — to seek care. With gas prices soaring, the charity has noticed increasing demand for its services.

Despite their roadblocks, the family said they’re keeping an eye on what’s important.

“People have certain arguments, everyday trials,” said Keith Vincent. “Oh, rent, food, you know, but you kind of work it out. When you have cancer, this stuff fades.”

“We’re not worried even though we can’t afford certain things,” added Analiza Vincent. “The big picture is her.”

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