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Program is lifeline for cancer patients

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POSTED: January 25, 2010 10:03 a.m.
At a recent Lunch & Learn at Poole’s Deli in Hinesville, attendees learned that some cancer patients do not have reliable or consistent transportation to medical appointments or chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
That’s where the Road to Recovery comes in.
Victoria Ten Broeck, American Cancer Society community manager, said volunteer drivers are needed for the society’s Road to Recovery. The program is a free service for cancer patients.
“Transportation is their lifeline,” Ten Broeck said. “Many cancer patients have appointments in Savannah. We’re looking for commuters who can do this.”
She said the need for transportation is the second highest request that comes into the cancer society’s call center.
“In 2009, 74 cancer patients in Liberty County alone called, asking for transportation,” Ten Broeck said. “We were able to serve their needs, but it was not through the Road to Recovery program.”
This program would better serve local cancer patients, she said.
The American Cancer Society recruits, screens and trains its Road to Recovery volunteer drivers and schedules pick-ups.
Volunteer drivers must have good driving records and dependable vehicles, and should transport patients only to and from the scheduled appointment. Volunteer drivers are not permitted to transport patients on non-treatment related errands. They also should not physically assist non-ambulatory patients as these patients should have a friend or family member along to assist them.
“We are asking car dealership, other businesses and churches to place a brochure of the program in their newsletters or on their bulletin boards,” Ten Broeck said.
Road to Recovery participants need not volunteer every day, although some patients must travel to daily or weekly appointments. Most cancer patients have friends or family members available to drive them to some appointments, Ten Broeck said, but they may not be able to take time off from work for each trip. She suggested group volunteers, such as through a church or business, could rotate drivers throughout a month.
“Volunteers don’t have to devote every day, maybe one day a week,” she said. “They could only get a call two days a month. But (volunteering) would help lift the cancer burden in Liberty County so much.”
Cancer survivor and Hinesville resident Judy Finch said she would be glad to volunteer for the Road to Recovery.
“I want to volunteer, to help give back a little,” Finch said.
For more information, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. Ten Broeck can be reached at victoria.tenbroeck@cancer.org.
 

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