An estimated 31,160 Missouri residents will learn that they have cancer this year. In Oregon County, 53 people were diagnosed last year and 47 were assisted by the ACS through various programs and services. Because of advances in medical research, there will be cures for many. Getting to the cures, however, may be a problem.
"One cancer patient requiring radiation therapy could need anywhere from 20 to 30 trips to treatment in six weeks," said Sheri House, community manager, Health Initiatives for the American Cancer Society. "A cancer patient receiving chemotherapy might report for treatment weekly for up to a year. In many cases, a patient is driven to hospitals or clinics by relatives or friends, but even these patients must occasionally seek alternative transportation. That's where Road to Recovery comes in. The program not only helps patients, but is also rewarding for the volunteer and it is flexible for volunteers who might only have time once a month to help those that could use transport on a weekly basis."
Volunteers are reimbursed for their mileage and they provide cancer patients with a more relaxing journey to treatments than having to take public transportation or private cabs.
$50 gas cards are also available to anyone who travels at least 50 miles one way to get treatment. Starting Sept. 1, the program will change to provide gas cards to those who have to travel only 30 miles one way for treatment.
"Our expectation is not for a volunteer to be available every single week," said House. "Even if you can only help out once or twice a month, it can make a big difference to someone battling cancer. We also provide signage allowing our volunteer drivers to park close to treatment center entrances, so they aren't inconvenienced. Remember, if a cancer patient can't get to their treatment, it's like no treatment at all."
To qualify as a volunteer for the program you must:
* Own a safe and reliable vehicle,
* Have a current and valid driver's license,
* Have proof of adequate automobile insurance,
* Have a good driving record, and
* attend the Road to Recovery volunteer training.
Volunteer trainings are scheduled for July and August and only take a few hours. There will be a training in Poplar Bluff on July 13 at the Chamber of Commerce Building and another on Aug. 17 at the Shaw Medical Building Conference Room at Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains.
For additional information about the Road to Recovery program or to volunteer, call Sheri House at the American Cancer Society office in Cape Girardeau at 573-334-9352 or contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, they fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. They save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation's largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, the ACS turn what they know about cancer into what they do.
As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about the ACS or to get help, call any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.