For some cancer patients, treatment options are limited where they live requiring them to travel to a different city in order to get the medical care they need in order to fight the horrible disease their battling. In some cases, these locations can be hours away from home meaning they need to find a place to stay while getting that treatment. A long-term hotel stay is certainly an option, however with the cost of treatment they may not have the funds to cover that additional cost. That's where the Open Homes Program through Airbnb, and you, can help by providing a comfortable living space at no cost to them.

I learned about this program through a recent post on Gilda's Club of Evansville's Facebook page, and thought it was a fantastic idea. Fortunately for those of us that live in the Tri-State we have access to top-notch cancer care for patients through our local hospitals so there's likely no need for someone who already lives here to need this program. But, the Tri-State is a large, and mostly rural area, meaning it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility for someone who lives an hour or two away to travel here for treatment.

Here's how it works. Create an account on Airbnb and share some info about your home; how many people it can accommodate, dates it will be available, etc. If you already have an account, you can simply pick one of the listings you have with the site (if you have more than one, of course). Potential guests, or nonprofits like Gilda's Club, will have the ability to message you directly for more information on your space. Once any and all questions have been answered to everyone's liking, and they book your space, you'll need to work on getting it ready for their stay.

As Airbnb notes, many patients won't travel alone. They will likely have family members or a caregiver travelling with them. Keep that in mind as you think about offering up your space.

If you have any questions or concerns after the booking has happened, Airbnb offers a customer support team 24 hours a day, seven days a week who specializes in this area to help.

As I noted earlier, agreeing to provide a temporary home for these patients comes at no cost to them, and from what I can tell by the Airbnb site, that means you receive no money for providing the space from anyone like you would a standard listing on the site. Ideally, you'd be doing it out of the kindness of your heart and not for financial gain. Simply providing a warm and inviting place for someone to relax in who are fighting for their lives.

For more information on how to participate, visit the Airbnb website.

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