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Road To Recovery drivers are ‘lifesavers’ for cancer patients

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
Posted 10/29/22

Thousands of cancer patients need to go to their treatments every day, but not all of them have a way to get there on their own.

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Road To Recovery drivers are ‘lifesavers’ for cancer patients


UTICA — Thousands of cancer patients need to go to their treatments every day, but not all of them have a way to get there on their own. To help, the American Cancer Society’s Road To Recovery program offers transportation for people with cancer who do not have a ride to their treatments or are unable to drive themselves.

“Having a cancer diagnosis is hard enough; getting there shouldn’t be a barrier to getting  treatment,” said Joni Richter, manager of cancer support and strategic partnerships for the ACS. “Road to Recovery drivers are truly lifesavers - without them, patients could be missing their life-changing treatment.”

Richter said the program started nationwide in 1981, with volunteers around the country helping cancer patients going through treatment make their way toward recovery. Unfortunately, Road to Recovery had to shut down for two and a half years due to the pandemic, she added.

The program was relaunched last year, with all proper COVID protocols in place.

Richter said patients can call 1-800-227-2345 to schedule their rides – although they should give two to three days notice to help the ACS find a driver in the area who can accommodate the appointment time. To be eligible, patients need to be able to get in and out of a car independently. The rides are for anyone going to cancer treatment appointments, Richter said.

Volunteers make the outreach possible. To volunteer, a driver must be between the ages of 18 and 84; have access to a safe and reliable vehicle, a valid driver’s license and adequate automobile insurance; pass background check and motor vehicle records checks; be comfortable using technology with reliable internet access; complete required training and follow through on ride commitments; and show respect for diverse cultures of patients, caregivers, volunteers and staff.

Drivers must also certify completion of COVID-19 vaccination series at least 14 days prior to participating in the program and agree to stay up to date with vaccinations, including all recommended vaccine boosters.

Anyone can be lifesaver as a driver, Richter said.

“I love that this is a way that anybody can get involved and make a difference in the life of someone that is living with a cancer diagnosis,” she explained. “They can share their passenger seat - on the way to school or work. They only need to do a few rides a month to be an active volunteer. We also utilize an app to help make this program seamless. It is like a volunteer Uber. My favorite thing is it helps patients ensure they have access to their lifesaving cancer treatment.”


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