Program Helps Cancer Patients on Road to Recovery

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DES MOINES, Iowa — A program helping cancer patients get to and from appointments needs more volunteers.

The American Cancer Society hosts a program called Road to Recovery. About 40 volunteers drive nearly 10 patients at any given time in Polk County. Some patients have daily treatments and no other form of transportation.

Volunteer Coordinator Barb Sharp says, “We’ve got four patients right now that have daily radiation treatments, so that’s about 20 rides a week, so I do drive some of those myself just because we have such a need right now.”

Peggy Huppert with the American Cancer Society says, “Our challenge is it’s a 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, so people who have a regular job or work those hours, it’s tough for them to help.”

Summer also presents problems as people go on vacation. You can call the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345, if you would like to volunteer or you need to set up a ride.

Mary Smith is one of the patients Sharp drives. Smith has breast cancer. The two found they have quite a bit in common during the rides. Sharp says, “We’ve decided we’re sisters by another set of parents.”

Sharp also knows what it’s like to have so many appointments. She says, “In 2012 I was living in Vermont and was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, so I went through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation.”

She goes on to say, “I felt like it was my turn to help out, and, I’m retired, so I worked all my life always had a lot going on, so when I retired it’s like I got to have something to do.”

Smith says she doesn’t know how she’d get to all her appointments without volunteers like Sharp. She says, “It is the most wonderful thing. It truly is wonderful thing.”

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