Somerset — An estimated 25,720 Kentucky residents will learn they have cancer this year and getting to their scheduled treatment will be one of their greatest roadblocks. To ensure patients get to the critical care they need without additional stress, the American Cancer Society Road To Recovery® program can help 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 Kelsey Lewis, Program Manager of Mission Delivery 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.”
On October 20th, there will be a group training and informational session for the Road to Recovery program in South Eastern Kentucky. This program covers Pulaski, Wayne, McCreary, Whitley, Laurel and Knox counties. The American Cancer Society is looking for volunteers in those counties willing to drive cancer patients to treatment. The training will be on Oct 20th at 10am at the Lake Cumberland Cancer Treatment Center in Somerset. Lake Cumberland Cancer Treatment Center, St. Joseph London, Baptist Health Corbin are the three primary facilities that drivers will be asked to take patients to for treatment.
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 training is one hour long and potential volunteers are asked to bring their driver’s license and proof of insurance as the American Cancer Society conducts criminal background and driving record checks on all volunteer drivers.
“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 Lewis. “Access to care is a big problem in our country, with low-income and minority persons and those living in outlying communities suffering the most from disparities. Transportation programs are vital for these patients to get the treatments they need and deserve. But the program not only helps patients, it’s also rewarding for the volunteers.”
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.
For information about the Road To Recovery program and upcoming training, contact Kelsey Lewis (859-260-8285, Kelsey.email@example.com) or visit www.cancer.org.