RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)–The high cost of gas, and just about everything we buy these days, takes a toll on all of us, but for families dealing with serious illness, it’s an added burden during an already traumatic time. A nonprofit that helps families of children with cancer is seeing a growing need for assistance.

With gas prices so high, experts encourage people to drive less to save money, but when your child’s life depends on repeated trips to the hospital, driving less simply isn’t an option.

Perry Coxe can’t wait to start kindergarten, but first she has to finish chemotherapy.

Last September, doctors diagnosed her with a tumor on her kidney. Her family knew the medical bills would add up, but quickly found out those aren’t the only costs.

“The gas prices make a big difference – even for a 25 or 30 minute commute,” noted her dad, Griffin Coxe.

Every three weeks, Perry spends 4-5 days getting treatment at Duke, with additional visits in between.

“Parking too, it’s $10 a day,” said Coxe. “You think about two vehicles for a week, and we’re going to be in it for 49 weeks; that’s a lot.”

He says the cost of meals while the family is with Perry in the hospital adds up, too.

He and his wife, Brittany, are grateful for the nonprofit Children’s Cancer Partners Of The Carolinas, which helps families of children with cancer pay for the costs of getting their children to treatment.

 Lately, as costs of gas and food rise, the organization is seeing an even greater need.

“We’re seeing a definite increase in the reimbursement requests; were seeing a definite increase in the meal requests,” noted executive director Laura Allen. “No one budgets for cancer.”

The organization recently added a family assistance van for those who need help with necessities.

“It’s diapers and baby wipes, toothpaste, toothbrushes,” Allen explained.

Whether a family needs supplies, or reimbursement for meals and mileage, the Coxe family says this kind of support is vital.

“You can focus on the number one priority which is your child and your family,” Brittany said.

That way they can worry less about the numbers at the gas pump, and more about the numbers that really count.

“We have seven treatments left,” said Brittany.  “Then she starts kindergarten a couple weeks later.”

If you’d like to learn more about Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas, click here.