EUREKA- The American Cancer Society reports more than three million Americans living with cancer have delays or other problems getting to their appointments. But thanks to the Road to Recovery Program, patients can get rides to their appointments for free. However, American Cancer Society officials say the program is in need of more volunteers.
Ursula Dewitt was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and is in remission. Last year, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She’s used the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery Program to get to many of her appointments.
"It's a really big help to me because I know trying to ride a bus when you're feeling sick is not fun,” said DeWitt.
The free program has been offered for more than 25 years. In the program, volunteers drive cancer patients to and from their medical appointments.
“It's nice to have somebody that can ride you there and will come back and pick you up when you need to go home,”DeWitt Said.
Volunteers, like Debie Heise, donate their time and the use of their personal vehicles for the program. Heise is in remission after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003.
"It's kind of like a little gift of your time that you give to someone else and it's very easy to do," said Heise.
But with only five drivers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, the American Cancer Society Humboldt-Del Norte Unit is in need of more volunteers.
"We need drivers from all over the region. All over the county, from Southern Humboldt, all the way up to the Oregon border," said Linda Mowrey, the Associate Coordinator for the American Cancer Society Humboldt-Del Norte Unit.
"It's not difficult. It's accommodating to your lifestyle. Sometimes I get called or notified of a need once a month. Sometimes I don't hear from them for six months," Heise said.
Volunteers say being a driver is about more than taking people to and from their appointments.
“Making the burden less, that's my goal in any way that I can be a light, hopefully, for them, that's my goal. It's just to make them feel a little better for their day," said Heise.
To become a volunteer, call 1-800-227-2345. To sign up to use the program, you can call that number or visit the American Cancer Society Humboldt-Del Norte Unit Office, located at 2942 F Street in Eureka.