MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Anybody who has battled cancer or knows someone who has understands the treatment can be exhausting. The appointments, tests, and chemo can take a lot out of a person. But the American Cancer Society has a program that allows you to help these patients.
All you need is a driver’s license and a car to make someone’s road to recovery a smoother one.READ MORE: Sheriff Seeks Owner Of Burnt Snowmobile Found On Central Minnesota Lake
Since being diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer, Kristina Ailara cherishes every moment with her family.
“It’s definitely life-changing,” she said.
So much of the 37-year-old’s time is spent in hospitals receiving treatment.
“My radiation appointments were every single day, Monday through Friday,” Ailara said.
If the stress of battling cancer isn’t enough, she worried how she’d get from her home in St. Paul to the radiation clinic in Wyoming, Minnesota.
“It gets really hard to get yourself to appointments all the time, you know you even get kind of spacey and silly with all the drugs you’re on, so it’s not safe to drive yourself,” she said.
Then Ailara discovered the American Cancer Society has a program that helps people out with just that. The program is called “Road to Recovery” and it connects patients with volunteer drivers who offer rides to doctor’s appointments.
Don Doerr is one of those volunteers.READ MORE: Teen Arrested In Robbinsdale After Fleeing Police In Stolen Car
“Where people can really help is to lighten the load for other people as they are going through their own struggle, to help remove barriers for people to get to and from their treatments,” he said.
But this year, the program has hit a speed bump: not enough drivers. The American Cancer Society needs a base of 150 volunteer drivers in the Twin Cities. Right now it has around 90.
“I have patients coming from Burnsville or Mound or the Cottage Grove area and they can’t get a ride and they have trouble getting to and from their appointments,” said Lyn Kienholz with the American cancer Society.
Kristina is grateful for the volunteers like Don who do donate their passenger seat.
“It is such a peace of mind,” she said.
So she can focus on fighting her cancer. A fight that Don knows is best fought with help from others.
“My wife passed away roughly four years ago from a very rare form of lymphoma,” he said. “This is my way of honoring her and remembering her.”
To ensure safety, the American Cancer Society screens every volunteer. They must also complete a training course. And then it’s up to you how many times you’d like to volunteer – whether it’s two to three times a week or once a month.MORE NEWS: Wisconsin Senate OKs Constitutional Amendment Saying Only Citizens Can Vote In Elections
You can chose routes in your part of the metro, if you don’t wish to drive far.