Volunteers needed to drive cancer patients to their appointments
The American Cancer Society offers free rides to cancer patients so they can get to their appointments, and they need your help by volunteering. They only have 18 volunteer drivers, and in 2019 there were over 500 free rides given to cancer patients. For some, it's more than just free transportation.
"I was about ready to give up and stop going to my treatments... I had no way to go," said Anna M. Hitchcock. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and has no family members who can drive her to the hospital for her appointments.
Yolanda Morgan drove Anna to her appointments on Wednesday morning. Morgan has been a volunteer for three years now, giving over 100 rides!
"I didn't realize how much of a need there was for this service until I got involved in it. I met so many people from all different races, all parts of town. And I learn something every time. You guys are always so grateful and that makes it even more rewarding because we feel like we're really helping, helping you guys get to your appointments. Because how can you get better if you can't get to your treatment?" said Morgan on her drive.
With five appointments a week, these rides are everything for Anna, "having somebody that's there that's able to drive you to them. It's less of a chance you want to give up on life itself. Because terminal is terminal."
Anna's been diagnosed with cancer 8 times, including pancreatic, lung, and breast cancer. She donated her hair to children with cancer at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital the day before she got her diagnosis. She said she was given 3 months to a year left to live in September. Now in February, she's not letting it stop her: "I've beat 7 out of 8 so far and my saying is, 'I'm going to beat it right square in the head.'"
"By volunteering and meeting all these people and going on a journey with them, it gave me a different outlook whenever it touched my immediate family," shared Morgan.
Cancer patients just need to request their ride 3 days in advance by calling the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345. From there, they're matched with a trained volunteer.
Anyone over 18 can volunteer - the American Cancer Society asks even if you can only do it every few days, it could make a big difference. If you're interested in volunteering, you can call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345, or sign up