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Buddy Check 9: Road To Recovery

10:53 PM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Every day thousands of cancer patients need a ride to treatment, but some may not have a way to get there.

Filling that need is the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery Program

In the January edition of Buddy Check 9, WUSA 9's Andrea Roane shows how you can help the American Cancer Society in its mission as a volunteer driver.

One person the program helped was Frances Harrell. Frances Harrell is a wife, mother, skilled seamstress, and a breast cancer survivor. But she prefers to call herself "God's work in progress."

"When I found out I had breast cancer and got over the shock, I thought 'okay, God. If this is one way that's gonna get me closer to you - here I am,'" remembered Frances.

That was in 2010. The diagnosis, early stage HER 2 NU breast cancer, means the cancer tends to grow faster and is more likely to spread.

Frances had a lumpectomy. Then, to help prevent a recurrence, doctors prescribed an aggressive multi-treatment regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. Some treatments took at least four hours a visit. This process went on for a period of 6 and a half months.

In order to keep those life saving appointments, Frances got a FREE ride from her home in Prince George's County to Walter Reed in Bethesda, thanks to the American Cancer Society's Road To Recovery program.

"The first person who came to greet me was Delores. It's been a happy thing with her ever since," said Frances.

Delores Browder worked 42 years in the federal government. Once she retired, she volunteered to drive for Road To Recovery after the ACS made an appeal at her church.

In 2 years, Delores had logged more than 6,000 miles. Using her own car, plus footing the gas bill, she's traveled all over the National Capital region and Baltimore -- taking 34 local patients to their cancer treatments. But lately, because of overwhelming patient demand, she's had to turn down rides to care on a regular basis.

"The need is really critical. We have a few drivers, we always need more..." shared Gloria Pender with Road to Recover.

Pender says access to care is the number one priority of the ACS, but lack of transportation is a serious barrier to follow up care.

"All the medical technology, modern medicine we have is useless if that patient can't get there," said Pender.

To be a Road To Recovery volunteer driver you must have a vehicle, a valid driver's license, liability insurance, pass a background check, and go though a brief training process. If you're interested, go to the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery home page:

  http://www.cancer.org/treatment/supportprogramsservices/road-to-recovery


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