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The Commons
Life and Work

Volunteer drivers are needed to transport cancer patients to treatment

For information about the Road To Recovery program, call Katy at 603-471-4111 or visit cancer.org.

Originally published in The Commons issue #411 (Wednesday, June 7, 2017).



An estimated 3,600 Vermont 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 Katy Nowoswiat, Mission Delivery Program Manager for the American Cancer Society, said in a news release. “We’re urgently asking drivers to donate their passenger seat and volunteer to take cancer patients to treatment.”

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.

“Access to care is a big problem in our country,” said Nowoswiat. “Transportation programs are vital for patients to get the treatments they need and deserve. But the program not only helps patients, it’s also rewarding for the volunteers.”

Vermonters are already lending a hand to help support cancer patients in need.

Mimi Morton, a cancer survivor herself, says of the program, “I love getting to know the people I drive, sharing our experiences in treatment, as well as laughter and the occasional dinner recipe.”

Other drivers echoed Morton’s sentiment. Current driver Michael Maffie says, “One fringe benefit is that I’ve been able to meet people whose lives and histories are really different from mine. During the rides, we get little stretches of quality time where you can really talk, without pressure, and share a glimpse of each other’s world.”

When asked why he began volunteering, driver Remi Morrissette stated, “I was looking for a way to give back to the community. My wife and I are cancer survivors and I love to drive. So, driving cancer patients to treatment seemed like a perfect fit.”

Local Road To Recovery Volunteer Coordinator Betsy Hallet says new volunteers are desperately needed: “Through Road to Recovery, we have a group of wonderful volunteers sharing transportation, but recently several have had to drop out. We need more volunteers!”

The Road To Recovery program provides much needed transportation options for cancer patients and currently is in need of volunteer drivers in Windham County. Volunteer drivers donate their time and the use of their vehicles so patients can receive the cancer-related treatments they need.

Hallet noted that requests for transportation are usually to Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, N.H., for radiation appointments, and occasionally to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., and locally to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.

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. Drivers can choose their own schedules and can commit as many or as few hours as their schedule allows.

The American Cancer Society provides free training to drivers and conducts criminal background and driving record checks.

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