Tulare, Calif. family spends $300 on gas, 3.5 hours per trip to visit sick newborn in Bay Area hospital

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Soaring gasoline prices are taking a heavy toll on families with critically ill children, who travel to and from Bay Area hospitals.

“It’s really tough, but I have to be strong for all of us,” said Tinisha Dominguez, who spends her days and nights with her newborn son, Davy, at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

Davy, the youngest of three sons, was born with an illness that required life-saving surgery to allow him to breathe.

“They cut his jaw and put metal plates and rods in, then after the operation they distracted him for twelve days to advance his jaw,” Dominguez said, noting that the operation was a success. but that the road to recovery will be long.

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Dominguez is hundreds of miles from her family with her husband who makes the three-and-a-half-hour trip from Tulare when he can, but money is tight.

“My husband goes back and forth when he can. It’s hard because of gas prices,” she said, adding that a round trip now costs the family more than $300. .

A local nonprofit has helped with the gas money, but the executive director says gas prices are making it difficult.

“We are nowhere near being able to meet gas demand at this time,” said Sara Alexander, executive director, Bay Area There with Care.

There With Care helps families with critically ill children who are experiencing financial hardship; providing everything from treatment packages to gas cards.

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“Knowing that they have to choose between paying rent, having food on their table, or filling up their gas tanks, I mean it’s a huge stress for families with a sick child,” Alexander said.

And that has turned into a lot of stress for the nonprofit as it tries to keep up.

“We used to help families with $25 to $50 worth of gas and now, knowing that a tank of gas can cost upwards of $100, we recognize that we can do so much more,” Alexander said, asking those who can to make a donation by going to their website.

“Whatever they can give, no matter how much or whatever, it really makes a difference,” said Dominguez, who plans to eventually give back to other families dealing with sick children.

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“Once we’re home and settled, my greatest hope is to give back,” she said. “To give back to all who have given to us.”

In the meantime, she will be at her son’s side. Looking forward to the day when she can bring Davy home.

“I’m just waiting for the day when we’ll all be together again.”

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