Volunteer Today: Road to Recovery
Volunteer Today: The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery
To continue our blog series, Volunteer Today, we are highlighting another volunteer driver program dedicated to driving cancer patients to and from medical appointments. The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program is a door-to-door service, where patients are picked up at their home and brought directly to the treatment facility. The program relies on generous volunteer drivers who donate their time and use of their personal vehicle to help make patients’ treatment experience a bit less stressful.
“The day before, the driver calls the patient to set up a pick up time. On the drive day, depending on the length of the appointment, the driver either stays or goes home and comes back, except for the Lebanon and out of state drives. Then the driver would wait at the facility,” states Mary Osborne, a Manchester native and current Hooksett resident.
Osborne has volunteered with the American Cancer Society for 15 years, and joined the Road to Recovery program from its inception. In addition to being a driver, Osborne is also a volunteer coordinator for the program, arranging rides for patients to their appointments.
Some of the medical facilities drivers take patients to include the Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, the Elliot Radiation Center, the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and the Catholic Medical Center in Manchester. While many rides stay local to the New Hampshire area, the program can arrange for drivers to travel to many other facilities out of state, such as Boston and Burlington.
Drivers can also choose how often and how far they would like to drive. While there is no required minimum number of rides, drivers are encouraged to provide at least three rides per month. Osborne states that a driver can choose to give a ride or not, depending on their schedules.
“We don’t pressure anyone. It’s all voluntary,” she reiterates.
How to Become a Volunteer Driver
Two things to consider before choosing to volunteer are how far you live from the nearest cancer treatment facility, and how much availability you have Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and roughly 4:00 p.m. when treatment centers are open.
Volunteering in the Community
As a Granite State Ambassador, a volunteer in the Information Booth at Manchester Airport, and an usher at the Palace Theater in Manchester, Osborne is an active volunteer in the community. Her advice to those considering joining Road to Recovery as a way to contribute to the community?
“Do it. You’ll get more out of it than you give. I have met some very wonderful people, many of whom I now count among my friends.”
Potential drivers who are interested in learning more can call 1-800-227-2345 or locally to Katy Nowoswiat in Concord, NH at 603-471-4111.