Cancer patients receiving treatment at a nearby hospital or medical facility will soon have access to free transportation to and from their treatment site, with the help of efforts towards establishing an initiative of a national program in Dawson County, known as Road to Recovery.
A program of the American Cancer Society, Road to Recovery is a free service for cancer patients who lack transportation to vital doctor and treatment appointments.
“Getting a ride can be a problem for some cancer patients,” said Suzanne Hendricks, Dawson County community manager with the American Cancer Society.
“Patients need daily or weekly treatment sometimes over the course of several months. They may not have a vehicle, or are too ill to drive,” she said.
However, the volunteer drivers of the Road to Recovery program donate their time and the use of their personal vehicle to transport cancer patients.
Being diagnosed with cancer and having to get treatment is a major burden to overcome, according to Hendricks. Worrying about how to get to treatment can compound the frustration.
Road to Recovery is the core of the American Cancer Society mission — people helping people to overcome cancer.
Program volunteers provide an essential service because even the greatest medical advance is useless if patients can’t get to and from treatment.
“Road to Recovery volunteers make the difference in people’s lives, just by driving,” Hendricks added.
One Dawson County resident, Karen Armstrong, has already pledged interest in becoming a certified driver for the program and is making efforts to provide support to those in the community affected by the life-threatenting disease.
“I am starting a cancer support group for Dawson County that will hold its first meeting on Sept. 21 from 6-7 p.m. at the downtown branch of United Community Bank,” Armstrong said. “The group will meet the third Monday of each month and will be open to any cancer patients, patients in remission and family members. I hope to offer many services or get the services needed to our residents.”
In January 2006, Armstrong lost her mother to a three-time battle with breast cancer.
“My mom was a strong woman and battled several times with cancer,” Armstrong said. “It was hard on her, my stepfather, my brother and me. You want to save your mom/spouse you love from this horrible disease, but you are helpless.”
It is from her personal affliction with the deadly disease, and taking precautions into her own hands to lower her risk of getting cancer, that Armstrong wants to provide a support system for those who have been affected or have family members who have been affected by cancer.
The American Cancer Society is currently seeking volunteer drivers who are willing to donate time, plus their vehicle, to assist those who lack a ride for cancer treatment.
Those interested will need to attend a two-hour training, facilitated by the American Cancer Society. A current valid Georgia driver’s license, a good driving record and proof of adequate auto insurance is necessary.
Cancer patients who need a ride to and from treatment can contact the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345.
Those interested in becoming a volunteer driver, call Suzanne Hendricks at the American Cancer Society at (770) 297-1176, and for more information about the support group, contact Karen Armstrong at (678) 943-0516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.