Volunteers needed to drive cancer patients to treatment
After pausing the Road To Recovery program due to public health concerns during the pandemic, the American Cancer Society is relaunching the volunteer driver program. To ensure Long Islanders get to their cancer care, volunteers are needed to help provide free rides to treatment.
Volunteer drivers donate their time and can provide as few or as many rides as they want each month. After the application and DMV screening, drivers are required to certify that they are fully vaccinated and will continue to maintain that status during their service to the program. All volunteer drivers must participate in a short training, have a good driving record, a current and valid driver’s license, proof of adequate automobile insurance, access to a safe and reliable vehicle, can schedule their availability online, and internet access. For more information or to volunteer visit cancer.org/drive or call 1.800.227.2345.
“For some cancer patients getting to and from treatment can be their biggest roadblock,” said Patti Lestrange Mack, Communications Director with the American Cancer Society. “In some instances, patients cannot drive themselves for medical reasons, others may lack the resources or a network of family and friends who can give them a lift. Volunteering as a Road To Recovery driver is a flexible way to support a critical need for cancer patients in our community.”
The American Cancer Society takes safety seriously and has implemented new guidelines to minimize COVID-19 risks to patients and volunteer drivers plus enhanced technology that will provide a better patient and volunteer experience. A new mobile-friendly website will make it easier for volunteer drivers to view and accept ride requests. Patients can access the program either through the mobile-friendly website or an app that will allow them to submit ride requests and see real time notifications. Patients who lack access to technology or who prefer to connect via phone can still call 1-800-227-2345 to schedule rides to treatment.
Miguel Melendez, an American Cancer Society volunteer, has provided rides to patients from his hometown of Baldwin, as well as further distances in Queens and throughout Suffolk County. “As an active retiree, I find it so rewarding to help cancer patients by giving them a lift,” stated Melendez. “I can choose to give one ride once a month, or more if my schedule allows and I always feel great about helping someone.”
According to Lestrange Mack, the American Cancer Society estimates 118,830 New Yorkers will be diagnosed with cancer in 2022.
To learn more about volunteering for the American Cancer Society Road To Recovery program, visit cancer.org/drive. If you are a cancer patient needing transportation assistance, contact the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345.