Hearing the words “you have cancer” is difficult enough, but dealing with everything treatment requires can be almost as much of a struggle.
For many Lorain County residents, just finding transportation to medical appointments is a challenge. To help meet that need, the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program is looking for volunteers to help drive cancer patients to much-needed treatments. The program is free to cancer patients.
Cancer patients turn to the program for many reasons — elderly patients who cannot drive or are not comfortable driving to facilities in downtown Cleveland, for instance, or those who are too sick or weak to safely drive. Some riders don’t have a vehicle or gas money to get to their appointments, or there is a scheduling conflict for caregivers.
“A lot of these appointments are during business hours, Monday through Friday, and if your main caretaker is working during those hours, it is very hard to ask them to miss work to take someone for daily radiation or chemo,” Gerrett said. “Sometimes a caretaker is just overwhelmed with taking care of everything, making sure the prescriptions are picked up, handling the financial details and this just lifts that off of them.”
In 2015, 119 rides were provided to Lorain County cancer patients. By the end of 2016, that number had risen to 178. Gerrett said she expects the demand will rise about 25 percent this year, due in part to the program’s reputation and reliability, which has led health care systems to refer patients to the agency.
Many similar programs or medical facilities have restrictions on drivers crossing county lines, but the Road to Recovery does not, making it much more available for patients in need. Right now, 12 Lorain County residents are volunteers, but about 25…