Pottstown Cancer Center Looking For Drivers

POTTSTOWN PA – For the estimated 76,000 Pennsylvania residents who sometime this year will learn they have cancer, getting to scheduled treatments may become one of their biggest obstacles. The Pottstown Memorial Regional Cancer Center, 1800 E. High St., is looking for volunteer drivers to help ensure local patients can reach the critical care they need without additional stress.

The center, in cooperation with the American Cancer Society’s Road To Recovery® program, attempts to provide free transportation to and from treatments for people who have cancer and who lack a ride or are unable to drive themselves. “Every driver has what it takes to help save lives,” according to the cancer center’s patient care director, Peggy Neese, RN, BSN, OCN.

“We’re urgently asking drivers to donate their passenger seat, and volunteer to take cancer patients to treatment,” Neese said. “One cancer patient requiring radiation therapy could need between 20 to 30 trips to treatment over the course of six weeks. A patient receiving chemotherapy may need weekly treatment for up to a year.” The problem: even the best treatments can’t work if patients can’t get to them.

Many cancer patients don’t own a vehicle, Neese explained. Others can’t afford the extra gasoline, or don’t have access to public transportation. Some patients may be elderly and unable to drive, too ill to drive, or have no family members or friends to provide regular assistance with transportation.

“Some patients don’t have access to transportation at all, and public transportation is not ideal for those who are in treatment and who are fatigued, sick, and often at risk of infection,” said Neese. “Access to care is a problem in our community. Transportation programs are vital for these patients to get the treatments they need and deserve.

The program helps patients, but it’s also rewarding for volunteers, she added. Drivers often provide encouragement and support, as well as their wheels.

Volunteers must have a valid driver’s license, a safe and reliable vehicle, and proof of automobile insurance. Drivers must be at least age 18 and have a good driving history. They arrange their own schedules, and can commit as many or as few hours as their time allows. The society offers free training to drivers, and conducts criminal background and driving record checks. Volunteer coordinators also are needed to help schedule requested rides. Coordinators can work from any location convenient for them.

For information, call 1-800-227-2345 or see the Road To Recovery® program online here.

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