By BARB WILLIS
Special To The Times
Giving ... we all give in different ways. Some of us give time and energy to coach sports teams or lead scout troops. Some of us give blood to help those who need it. And some of us drive cancer patients to and from their radiation and chemo treatments or doctor appointments. This last is what I have been doing for nearly three years through the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery Program. After filling out some initial paperwork and taking some video training I was good to go. I listed how far I was willing to drive and which days and time of day I was available to transport patients. Now I log on to see when and where there’s a need and sign up if it fits my schedule. This is one of the ways I am choosing to give.
While I feel bad that Jerry Emery has been going through a treatment regimen for cancer, I applaud the newspaper articles he has written that educate the rest of us about his experiences. I am glad he is able to articulate his thoughts and feelings so the rest of us can be advised as to how to react, how to relate, and how to understand the plight of a cancer patient. As a volunteer in the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery Program I come in contact with cancer patients regularly, yet I still gained from Jerry’s insights. Although this wasn’t the case for Jerry, some patients do not have family or friends who can take them to appointments. While they are at a low ebb in life due to this disease, having the transportation need taken off their plate does provide some relief.
There are times when I take someone in to one of the nearby oncology centers for a radiation treatment and I can chat with a stranger, read a book, watch television, look at a magazine, or watch the antics of the fish in the aquarium in the waiting area. There are other times when I drop someone off for a three-hour chemo treatment and I can get some shopping done nearby. There are also times when the patient is not physically up to the scheduled treatment appointment and the ride gets canceled. I have met some pretty wonderful people over the last three years whom I would not have known otherwise. And I have learned from them as I learned from Jerry.
In the past I have donated financially to the American Cancer Society and participated in Relay For Life. Now taking patients to their treatment appointments is providing my new way to give. If you too have a flexible schedule, are patient, and want to give to the American Cancer Society in a less traditional way, the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery Program would love to have you participate. Call 1-800-227-2345 to get started on your new way of giving.