ACS seeking volunteer drivers

Published 2:24 pm Friday, April 19, 2013

For the projected 27,000 Alabama residents expected to be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year, getting to their treatments is often the largest obstacle on the long road ahead.

The Road to Recovery program is one facet of the American Cancer Society dedicated to removing such a roadblock. The program aims to provide transportation for cancer patients to and from treatments who do not have a ride or are otherwise unable to drive.

Luella Giles, a local staff partner of the American Cancer Society, said that the volunteer-driven program is in desperate need of additional help.

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“We’re looking for individuals to volunteer their time, their cars and their gas, and we train them in a two-hour training session on the dos and the don’ts of driving patients,” Giles said. “The only requirement is a willingness to drive.”

The program, which is new to Butler County, is particularly relevant to the area due to the influx of patients from the county travelling to Montgomery treatment centers.

The American Cancer Society is looking to spread the program into outlying counties and, as such, drivers from Butler County and surrounding areas are in high demand.

Because the network of drivers in the Road to Recovery program consists of volunteers, they have complete freedom in choosing how frequently or infrequently they participate.

“We will accept any schedule,” Giles said. “If you want to drive once a month and you drive a patient to treatment but you can’t pick them up, that’s fine. If someone wants to drive every week, and we do have drivers that drive patients each time we give them a call, that’s fine, too.”

In an effort to prepare volunteers for the program, training for prospective drivers will be held on April 23 at the Holiday Inn Express on Paul Stabler Drive from 10 a.m. until noon.

The training session teaches volunteers about the mission of the American Cancer Society, its goals within the program and how to deal with the specific needs of a variety of different patients, including the need for confidentiality.

Drivers will also be required to pass a motor vehicle report, which ensures that they are eligible to drive patients based on their driving record.

“There’s no cost at all,” Giles added. “Be there, get trained and start driving.”

Those interested in volunteering can contact Giles at (334) 612-8162 or email for more information.