Volunteers are needed to drive cancer patients

To ensure cancer patients get the critical care they need, without additional stress, the American Cancer Society Road To Recovery program helps provide free transportation to-and-from treatment for those who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves.

An estimated 32,510 Arizona residents will learn they have cancer this year and getting to their scheduled treatment will be their greatest concern so The Road To Recovery program provides transportation options for patients in these situations, the press release said.

Currently, there is a need in Phoenix for volunteer drivers to donate their time and use of their cars so patients can receive the necessary cancer-related treatments. Drivers also provide encouragement and support, according to a prepared statement.

“Every driver has what it takes to save lives,” said Monica Escalante, American Cancer Society mission delivery. “We’re urgently asking drivers to donate their passenger seat and volunteer to take cancer patients to treatment. One cancer patient requiring radiation therapy could need between 20-to-30 trips to treatment over the course of six weeks. A patient receiving chemotherapy may need weekly treatment for up to a year.”

Many cancer patients don’t own a vehicle, can’t afford the extra gasoline, or don’t have access to public transportation. Some patients may be elderly and unable to drive, too ill to drive, or not have any family members or friends able to provide regular assistance with transportation, said the press release, noting that the “best treatment can’t work if a patient can’t get there.”

“Some patients don’t have access to transportation at all and public transportation is not ideal for those who are in treatment and who are fatigued, sick, and often at risk of infection,” Ms. Escalante said. “Access to care is a big problem in our country, with low-income and minority persons and those living in outlying communities suffering the most from disparities. Transportation programs are vital for these patients to get the treatments they need and deserve. But the program not only helps patients, it’s also rewarding for the volunteers.”

To volunteer, you must be 18 or older with a good driving history, have a valid driver’s license, a safe and reliable vehicle, and proof of automobile insurance. Drivers arrange their own schedules and can commit as many or as few hours as their schedule allows. The American Cancer Society provides free training to drivers, conducts criminal background and driving record checks.

Volunteer coordinators also are needed and help schedule requested rides. Coordinators can work remotely.

For information, call 1-800-227-2345, or go to cancer.org.


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