A program at Grand River Hospital is helping cancer patients stay closer to home during treatments.

Travelling to a hospital in another part of the province for intensive treatment can be difficult for people battling cancer.

Shawn Sajkowski, a cancer survivor who lives in Kitchener, says he spent three months in Toronto after his stem cell transplant in 2006.

“It can start wearing on you emotionally not having friends and family nearby,” says Sajkowski.

For the past two years, Grand River Hospital has partnered with the Juravinski Cancer Centre at Hamilton Health Sciences to offer a program to patients with multiple myeloma or lymphoma.

Through the program, patients still receive the transplant in hospital in Hamilton but then they return to Grand River Hospital for their recovery.

Erin Gerger had her stem cell transplant in Hamilton last year and had a very different experience.

She says it was beneficial because she was back in the region and recovering with her family at her side following her procedure.

The hospital expects 24 patients will use the program this year.

In the future they also hope to be able to perform the transplant procedure at Grand River.