The American Cancer Society, based in Topsham, seeks volunteers throughout Maine to transport cancer patients to and from their treatments. Those who are available once a month or once a week, even for an hour, can be a Road to Recovery volunteer, according to a news release from the American Cancer Society.

“Every driver has what it takes to help save lives,” said Elisa Madore, program manager, Mission Delivery for the American Cancer Society, according to the release. “We’re urgently asking drivers to donate their passenger seat and volunteer to take cancer patients to treatment. One cancer patient requiring radiation therapy could need between 20 to 30 trips to treatment over the course of six weeks. A patient receiving chemotherapy may need weekly treatment for up to a year.”

Many cancer patients don’t own a vehicle, can’t afford the 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. Even the best treatment can’t work if a patient can’t get there.

“Some patients don’t have access to transportation at all, and public transportation is not ideal for those who are in treatment and who are fatigued, sick and often at risk of infection,” said Madore, according to the release. “Access to care is a big problem in our country, with low-income and minority persons and those living in outlying communities suffering the most from disparities. Transportation programs are vital for these patients to get the treatments they need and deserve. But the program not only helps patients, it’s also rewarding for the volunteers.”

The program provides transportation options for patients in these situations and is in need of volunteer drivers in Maine, especially Cumberland, Kennebec, Penobscot and Aroostook counties. Volunteer drivers donate their time and the use of their vehicles so patients can receive the cancer-related treatments they need. Drivers also provide encouragement and support.

Potential volunteers 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. They arrange 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.

For more information, call 800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

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