Cancer patients undergoing cancer treatment who live in Jefferson County can take advantage of the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery program.
This service provides free rides to patients who are receiving medical treatment for their cancer.
According to the ACS, one of the most sought-out services from patients is finding transportation. When patients undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment, most prefer not to drive themselves because of the possible side effects.
Treatment affects everyone differently, but most patients feel more comfortable and at ease if they know they do not have to drive home after treatment.
Some patients have no one to depend on because friends and family do not live close by, or the people who can drive them are unable to take time off from their employment.
"We want patients who are unable to get a ride from family or friends to call us ahead of time so we can make the arrangements with one of the volunteer drivers," said Barb Wilinski, a longtime volunteer for the American Cancer Society. "The driver will pick the patient up, take them to treatment, and drive them back home."
The ACS currently has drivers in Jefferson County who transport patients, but they are seeking additional drivers who would like to volunteer their time and vehicle.
"Volunteer drivers are needed to fill the many requests we receive from patients throughout the county," Wilinski added. "We try to find a driver who lives reasonably close to where the patient lives. However, we would like to find a few more people who are willing to help us by transporting patients. They do not have to help every day, only when time permits."
Patients who need a ride to and from their treatment are strongly encouraged to use this service. However, arrangements must be made prior to appointments because a driver must be contacted and provided the necessary information about the patient.
The ACS will hold a free and simple training program to those who are interested in assisting cancer patients with rides. Volunteer drivers must have a working vehicle that can accommodate the patient, a current driver's license and proof of auto insurance. Also, a personal background check will be conducted by the ACS before drivers are permitted to transport patients.
To learn how to become a Road to Recovery driver, or to schedule a ride to and from cancer treatment, call Beth Heinicke at the ACS toll free at 1-888-227-6446, ext. 2102.
The mission of the ACS, she added, is to save lives by helping people stay well, get well, find cures and fight back.