Cancer is a disease that makes no judgments. It is a disease that, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), half of all men and one-third of all women in the United States will develop in their lifetime. In 2013, an estimated 580,350 people died as a result of cancer and there were an estimated 1,660,290 new cases of cancer reported by the ACS.
Despite the number of persons who become ill, there are people trying to help the many patients who often need rides to receive their treatments. Now, the ACS has created, "Road to Recovery," a volunteer program that provides free transportation to and from medical appointments for people who are in active treatment for a cancer diagnosis.
Since September, Diane Armato of Lakeville has driven a patient to and from their treatment simply to, "do something for your fellow man," she said. After retiring and having extra time on her hands, Armato said volunteering was easy because it fit into her schedule and she wanted a way to give back. Armato actually learned of the program from a friend who also drives patients.
One not to mind driving, Armato said the rides are typically about 45 minutes long and she doesn't mind helping out. Seeing those who are ill, she said gives people an appreciation for the positive things in life.
So far, Armato has only driven one woman a few times. Both Armato and her husband are cancer survivors and so she understands what patients are going through. Dealing with the disease, she said is, "horrifying." Having prevailed though, she said its worth helping someone else.
For those who are interested in volunteering, they may drive their own vehicle or the ACS may have a vehicle. But, Armato said by a person using their own vehicle, it is a donation basically and so taxes can be deducted.
The woman Armato drove, has been in remission now and she has just been driving her for checkups. An easy ride, Armato said the two talk about the area and everyday life.
Drivers are needed in all counties and Armato said training consist of receiving a booklet to look over. When ACS is in need of a driver, she said it's as simple as a phone call asking if you're available.
Armato said the Road to Recovery program is wonderful and through the program, she has since learned more about what ACS does, which she called, "mind boggling." She added that the ACS is in need of drivers and so because of the number of people who have had some kind of an experience with cancer, it is an opportunity to give back.
Road to Recovery would not exist if not for the volunteers who donate their time to help cancer patients. Drivers must have a valid Pennsylvania driver's license, a good driving record and a reliable vehicle. Additionally, the driver must have proof of insurance, complete a background and driver check and attend a brief orientation program that takes less than an hour.
Page 2 of 2 - Hours of driving are flexible and rides are typically Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. For volunteers' convenience, they can drive on days that work best for them.
Jennifer Washney, Mission Delivery Specialist for ACS said the volunteers are doing more than simply giving someone a ride. Volunteers, Washney said, are special people and people are needed, "to step up to the wheel and help."
If interested, call 570-562-9749 extension 320 or email Washney at Jennifer.email@example.com.