Parents of teen with cancer take out loans to pay for gas

An Indiana couple have been forced to take out high-interest loans to pay for the gas needed to drive their daughter, who is battling cancer, to treatment.

Keith and Analiza Vincent were devastated when their 15-year-old daughter Jinger was diagnosed with bone cancer last year and quickly arranged for her to undergo chemotherapy and surgery to beat the disease.

However, because the family resides in rural Indiana, the nearest treatment facilities are over an hour away. For the past 12 months, Keith and Analiza – who also have two other children – have shuttled Jinger to her appointments every other day.

Last year, the family shelled out about $100 a week for travel. Now, due to skyrocketing gas prices, they are paying over $200 a week to get Jinger to his lifesaving treatments.

In a heartbreaking interview, Keith and Analiza said CBS News that they cannot afford the rising prices and have turned to loans to cover the cost.

Jinger Vincent (front left) is pictured with his family. The teenager was diagnosed with bone cancer last year and underwent chemotherapy and surgery.
CBS News

“At the end of the day, I say, ‘Wait a minute, we don’t have any gas money.’ So I end up going [for] instant money. He’s our best friend right now,” Analiza said.

Jinger also spoke to CBS News, saying she noticed rising gas prices were hurting her parents.

“Have to watch them [say], ‘We have to pay this bill. We have to pay for this. And I’m down there and I hear all this. It seems so stressful and I feel bad for them,” the teenager told the network.

The Vincent family is depicted in a recent photo.  The family resides in rural Indiana and must travel long distances for Jinger's hospital treatment.
The Vincent family is depicted in a recent photo. The family resides in rural Indiana and must travel long distances for Jinger’s hospital treatment.
CBS News

To cut down on long and expensive commutes, the family stayed at a Ronald McDonald house in northern Indiana.

The charity told CBS News that there are many other families in the same boat as the Vincents, with increased demand for their services since gas prices began to soar.

Jinger – who was once a student athlete – recently had lung surgery and is still receiving chemotherapy.

Keith is seen at the pump.  He says his family now pays more than $200 a week for gas.
Keith is seen at the pump. He says his family now pays more than $200 a week for gas.
CBS News

Dad Keith has candidly admitted it’s ‘difficult’ watching his daughter ‘wasting away in bed’, but says he’s ready to do whatever it takes to help her recover.

“People have certain squabbles, daily lawsuits, rent, food, but you sort of manage,” he said. “[But] when you have cancer, that stuff fades away.

“We don’t worry [that], even if we cannot afford certain things,” mum Analiza added. “The big picture is her.”

Jinger – a former student athlete – is undergoing chemotherapy.  Her parents are praying for her to make a full recovery.
Jinger – a former student athlete – is undergoing chemotherapy. Her parents are praying for her to make a full recovery.
CBS News
Analiza and Keith say they will do whatever it takes - including taking out high-interest loans - to make sure Jinger receives treatment.
Analiza and Keith say they will do whatever it takes – including taking out high-interest loans – to make sure Jinger receives treatment.
CBS News

Since the family story aired on CBS Saturday night, a GoFundMe account was created in their honor.

The page raised the colossal sum of $72,000, leaving the Vincent family blown away by the generosity of strangers.

Several viewers left messages next to their donations, including one writing, “I saw your story on CBS and it broke my heart. The least I can do is pay for some gas. God bless you. Stay strong Jinger, we all pray for you and fight with you.

Garland K. Long