Cancer Concierge
Our editor-in-chief answers our reader’s toughest travel questions.

Q:  Hi, Caylei! I want to plan a vacation for my husband who is fighting cancer and the rest of my family. The thought of traveling too far from our home in the Midwest or doing anything strenuous stresses me out. I want us all to be able to relax and have fun, but worry that his health concerns and finding accessible options will make the trip too stressful and expensive. What could we do that is affordable and not too taxing for our family?

A:  Wanting to provide excellent care for your husband shouldn’t hold you back from the relaxation and rejuvenation your family deserves. While the idea of traveling with cancer may be daunting—if impossible for some—for others, the rewards of travel can be liberating, healing, and well worth the effort. Many cancer patients and survivors can and do travel. Several primary factors explain this.

Cancer concierge services, programs, and cancer-care personal assistants make traveling post-diagnosis easier. An increasing number of destinations cater to individuals with special needs. From spas to fly fishing, to hiking and cruises, more and more companies see the value in supplying services and support for those with special medical requirements. Whether you are looking for a quick departure from the treatment routine or a full-fledged getaway, we have some sterling ideas!

One great option for a Midwest vacation is the Ravinia Festival. Known locally as simply “Ravinia,” this festival resides just 25 miles north of Chicago in the quaint town of Highland Park. Ravinia is the oldest music festival in the United States and is open year-round, though it is truly impressive during the summer with world-class music, dance, and theatrical performances. Ravinia is an ideal destination for individuals with varying levels of health concerns. Winding pathways criss-cross through layers of lawn seating, which are all wheelchair accessible, as is seating in the Pavilion, the Martin Theatre, and Bennett Gordon Hall. Several fantastic dining options are available for seated service or an impromptu picnic.

Park and ride shuttles are wheelchair accessible. Metra service from downtown Chicago drops off passengers at the park entrance. Explore more at Ravinia’s website. For additional information about accessibility, mobility carts, and reserved wheelchair spots, you can email Ravinia’s Accessibility Coordinator at [email protected].

During your trip to Chicago, here are some other accessible options: the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, the Chicago Botanic Garden (which is next to Ravinia), the Lincoln Park Zoo, Navy Pier, and Willis Tower with the Chicago Skydeck for excellent sightseeing. Other great options include attending a Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field or a Cubs game in Wrigleyville, visiting the set of “Chicago Fire,” or seeing some great theater from Broadway in Chicago.


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