Volunteer drivers needed in Greene County to transport cancer patients

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

An estimated 36,440 Indiana residents will learn they have cancer this year and getting to and from their scheduled treatments will be one of their greatest roadblocks. To ensure patients get to the critical care they need without additional stress, the American Cancer Society offers a Road To Recovery® program in which volunteers provide free transportation to and from treatment for people who have cancer and who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves.

“Every driver has what it takes to help save lives,” said Sarah Vivo, program manager for the American Cancer Society. “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 have no family members or friends who are able to provide regular assistance with transportation. Even 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,” said Terri Acton, nurse navigator for Indiana University Health Bloomington. “As a nurse navigator who serves 11 counties, I have found that Greene and Orange counties transportation needs have been one of the most challenging hurdle to overcome. Many of these residents have no transportation options which can lead to missed appointments that can lead to poor outcomes. I encourage the residents of these counties to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors by considering volunteering with the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program.”

The Road To Recovery program provides transportation options for patients in these situations and currently is in need of volunteer drivers in Greene County. Volunteer drivers donate their time and the use of their vehicles so patients can receive the cancer-related treatments they need. Drivers also provide encouragement and support.

To volunteer, you must have a valid driver’s license, a safe and reliable vehicle, and proof of automobile insurance. Drivers must be at least 18 years old and have a good driving history. They 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 and conducts criminal background and driving record checks.

Volunteer coordinators also are needed and help schedule the requested rides. Coordinators can work from any location that is convenient for them – even taking their work to a warmer climate during the winter months. Great organization and communication skills can make a major impact on the well-being of cancer patients in the community.

For information about the Road To Recovery program, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.