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American Cancer Society program has urgent need for volunteer drivers

Posted at 7:17 AM, Dec 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-27 11:29:12-05

An estimated 1.7-million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year, according to statistics from the American Cancer Society.

On top of the grueling physical and mental symptoms the illness brings about, many patients are burdened with having to make frequent trips to doctors/medical clinics in order to have a chance at survival.

That can be challenging for people with no reliable form of transportation.

The American Cancer Society's "Road to Recovery" program provides free rides to and from treatment to cancer patients in need.

Last year, Road to Recovery volunteers accounted for roughly 3,300 trips around the state. More than 60% of those rides were in Southeast Wisconsin.

Laurie Bertrand, with the American Cancer Society, said volunteers are needed all year round. But they're always in especially short supply during the month of December.

"It's harder this time of year because of the weather, and the holidays," Bertrand said. "But cancer doesn't just stop around the holidays."

Volunteers with the program can devote as much, or as little, time to it as they desire.

The American Cancer Society trains and screens all volunteers.

Tom Delahunt began volunteering as a Road to Recovery driver after he retired.

"It's just one-on-one time, you and (the patient)," Delahunt said. "It makes you feel good that they have a ride, and don't have to worry about that ahead of time."

His wife, Shirley, serves as the coordinator for the program in Waukesha County.

She's a cancer survivor, and vividly remembers the frequent trips to treatment.

"The chemotherapy was once every two weeks for eight weeks total," Shirley Delahunt said. "The radiation was longer. That was every day for six weeks."

Want to volunteer as a Road to Recovery driver? Click the link HERE for more information.