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Volunteer drivers travel 'Road To Recovery' with cancer patients

Posted: 3:33 PM, Apr 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-04 18:34:29-04
Road to Rec

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When fighting cancer, there can be several bumps along the road. Getting to and from treatment shouldn't be one of those obstacles.

"One of the first thoughts for someone who doesn't have a support system is, 'how am I going to get there and back again?'" said Maryann Fisher, a volunteer with the American Cancer Society's Road To Recovery program.

Fisher began driving cancer patients to their appointments shortly after moving to Kansas City nearly three years ago.

"I'm in a new place, a lot of time on my hands, which I wasn't used to either, and I was looking for something to fill my time that was worthwhile," Fisher said.

Road to Recovery is a nationwide volunteer program that's pulling out all the stops in the Kansas City metro. Ashley Berndt, senior manager of community development for the American Cancer Society, said that the local program is currently hoping to recruit more volunteer drivers.

"Right now we're looking for 45 drivers in 45 days to really suit and fill those unmet needs so every cancer patient that needs a ride to treatment can receive that ride," she said.

Currently, the Kansas City-area program only has 22 drivers. Last year, more than 2,000 rides were given to patients, but it wasn't nearly enough to fulfill the need.

"Last year, we had over 1,500 rides that we were unable to fulfill because we didn't have enough drivers," Berndt said.

Making her own schedule, Fisher drives patients a couple of times a week. In just over two years, she's given more than 200 rides.

Fisher said it's the people and their stories that keep her on the right road.

"Very much get a joy out of meeting each of these people, but beyond that, I also know that if I'm not driving, who is?" Fisher said.

The campaign to recruit new drivers runs through May 15, but the American Cancer Society is always looking for volunteer drivers. To become a driver, visit the American Cancer Society website or call 1-800-227-2345.