AURORA | Robert Green, 78, had a bone marrow transplant four years ago for bone cancer that put him into somewhat of a remission.
“To stay in remission you have to take maintenance drugs,” he said, explaining he still makes weekly visits to the University of Colorado Cancer Center on the Anschutz Medical Campus.
Sometimes the visits extend to two days a week because Green is part of an experimental treatment group, he said. He lives with family, but their busy work schedules don’t always allow for them to take off so much work to get him to those critical followups.
But thanks to the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program, he always has a ride.
Lindsay Bethel is one of the volunteers who provides free transportation to and from treatment for people who have cancer and who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves.
The Road To Recovery program provides transportation options for patients in these situations and currently is in need of volunteer drivers in the Denver metro area. Volunteer drivers donate their time and the use of their vehicles so patients can receive the cancer-related treatments they need. Drivers also provide encouragement and support.
Bethel said this recent Friday trip from Green’s house on the outskirts of East Colfax Avenue in Aurora is her second time taking Green to an appointment.
“I’m brand new. I’ve only done four rides. Today’s my fifth ride,” she said. “I was looking for places to volunteer. I’m retired. Some very close family members had cancer, and I love to drive. This seemed like it would benefit what I like to do and it would benefit Mr. Green too.”
Jen Briggs, mission delivery program manager for the American Cancer Society, there are about 80 active volunteer drivers in the program in Aurora and the surrounding metro area, but is still not able to fulfill every ride request in the area.
“The program is growing, but we would love to meet every ride request that we get,” she said.
Jerica Lenberg, whose day job is with National Jewish Health in Denver, volunteers as a coordinator for the program where she matches cancer patients with volunteer drivers.
“The reason I chose to be a coordinator was because of the flexibility,” Lenberg said. “The reason I love it is because it’s so tangible. It’s a very one-on-one way to help someone. It’s a very tangible way to get involved with cancer and volunteering.”
Volunteers must have a valid driver’s license, a safe and reliable vehicle and proof of automobile insurance. Drivers must be at least 18 years old and have a good driving history. The American Cancer Society provides free training to drivers and conducts criminal background and driving record checks.
To schedule a ride to treatment, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to be matched with a volunteer.
The American Cancer Society is also looking for volunteer coordinators to help schedule the requested rides. Coordinators can work remotely. To learn more about volunteering, call 720-524-5405.