Road to Recovery program in need of volunteer drivers to transport cancer patients
A program that helps hundreds of cancer patients in Minnesota every year is need of volunteer drivers.
Road to Recovery, run by the American Cancer Society, offers cancer patients free rides to and from treatment.
“I would say that the need has grown,” said Pamela Mason, associate director of cancer center partnerships for the American Cancer Society. “What we’re finding, particularly in Hennepin County, is that the ride requests are coming in but we aren’t always able to fulfill them.”
The program depends on volunteers accepting ride requests from patients through a web portal.
Paul Haines of Maple Grove started volunteering about three years ago after losing his wife to breast cancer.
“When my wife was sick, people helped us. Now it’s my turn to help somebody else,” Haines said.
His wife, Kim, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 at the age of 44.
She battled the disease for a year and a half and ended up being cancer-free for more than a decade.
“Then one day in 2015, she started not feeling well. So she went in, they did some tests and found the cancer had returned. We found out it was triple-negative breast cancer, which is not treatable. She died that August,” Haines said.
Haines said his wife was always volunteering and giving back to various causes.
“You know, she really wanted to help. So when she’s gone, I figure I need to follow in her footsteps and help somebody some way also,” Haines said.
Haines said he saw a notice in the newspaper one day about the need for Road to Recovery volunteers and decided to sign up.
“The very first ride I ever did it was a lady who had the exact same kind of cancer my wife did,” Haines said.
He’s since driven dozens of cancer patients to doctor appointments, chemotherapy and radiation, noting he enjoys the human connection with others during a time of need.
“I think they’re just looking for somebody to have conversation with,” Haines said. “And it makes you feel good, too.”
Road to Recovery volunteers must be between the ages of 18 and 84, have a valid driver’s license and pass a background check.
Volunteers drive their own vehicles and can set their own schedules.
For more information or to sign up to volunteer, click here.