MonaLisa Cash beat Leukemia seven years ago, but she never stopped fighting.
The founder of CureQuest Leukemia works tirelessly to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which funds clinical trials, research, and helps reduce the burden of patients who are fighting blood cancers.
As a single mom, she experienced many of the same challenges as she struggled to pay rent, buy food, and pay for prescriptions and co-payments at the doctor’s office.
Her latest venture aims to solve another major problem: lack of transportation.
CureQuest, an Irving-based nonprofit, is leveraging technology through a partnership with Uber and Lyft to provide non-emergency medical rides to the elderly, cancer patients, military veterans, and dialysis patients.
‘RIDE FOR LIFE’ SAVES BOTH HOSPITAL & PATIENTS MONEY
Cash calls this new transportation venture CureQuest Ride for Life and it’s gained popularity from Rockwall to Flower Mound.
“Most of our clients right now are in the outskirts of Dallas, which is fine, because there’s no transit out there,” Cash said. “We want to be able to partner with them to assist. We’re saving the hospital money as well as the patient. It costs the hospital when people don’t show up for their medical appointments.”
“We’re saving the hospital money as well as the patient.”
Ride for Life is meant for people with low to moderate incomes who need a ride to the doctor’s office, grocery store, a friend or family member’s house, or to church.
They book the ride through Ride for Life and then Cash and her two-person team connect them with an Uber or Lyft driver. The rideshare driver gets paid the regular rate for the trip.
“We have the opportunity to give you a discount on the ride because we have donations to supplement the cost of your ride,” Cash said.
Ride for Life vets the drivers beyond what the various rideshare services does.
“We make sure that they are very considerate and very kind. We do ask those drivers particular questions,” Cash said. “If this driver and this passenger hit it off pretty good they can actually keep that driver.”
Lewisville resident Beth Blankenship recently used Ride for Life to get to her eye doctor in Denton. She had a different Lyft driver both ways and said she was very pleased with the service.
“I love it. I go up to Denton to see my retina specialist,” she said. “My son wasn’t able to take me. I do not drive on [Interstate] 35. I will use it again in October.”
The patient can also request a stop at the local pharmacy to pick up prescriptions, for example.
OTHERS TAPPING INTO RIDESHARE FOR NON-EMERGENCY RIDES
Ride for Life isn’t the only one tapping rideshare networks for non-emergency transportation. Fort Worth-based MedStar Mobile Healthcare recently announced a similar partnership with Lyft.
That deal saves patients money. Just one ambulance ride could cost $450. Through Lyft, 38 patients were transported at a total cost of $430 for the month of February.
It’s a trend that’s happening nationwide with rideshare companies disrupting yet another industry, HealthTech reports.
“This is something that’s really new,” Cash said. “There’s enough to go around because the demand is so huge.”
Another common stop is the VA Medical Center in southern Dallas.
“There’s enough to go around because the demand is so huge.”
“The VA hospital has a train of people every day looking for a cab, looking for a bus,” she said.
As a 501c3, the nonprofit was awarded free coworking space at The Dallas Entrepreneur Center.
“It’s been huge. I was able to connect with some folks here and it’s been amazing,” Cash said. “I just love it here and I want to take advantage of the mentors here as well as reach out to some folks who could probably assist in helping me plan fundraisers in the future.”
Many of the donations come from GoFundMe and YouCaring pages. Right now, CureQuest is looking to add a grant writer, among other positions, so it can grow.
“Hopefully, someone can assist me in that area as far as a grant writer,” Cash said.
She believes the Ride for Life concept could be replicated in other markets such as Houston without much effort because the software has already been developed.
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