Volunteer drivers needed to help New Orleans-area cancer patients

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The American Cancer Society is relaunching its “Road to Recovery” program in New Orleans – a program that connects volunteer drivers with cancer patients.

Patrick Nunez picks up 97-year-old Gracie Martinez from her home in Arabi to bring her to her doctor’s appointment in Metairie.

Nunez volunteers for the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program.

“What we do is we help cancer patients who are without transportation get to their doctor’s appointments,” explained Nunez.

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The program had been paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the organization is now in need of volunteer drivers.

“Like everything else that got shut down, getting it ramped back up again is challenging,” said Nunez. “So, it was shut down for almost two years, I believe, and it’s just coming back online, and we’re looking for more volunteers.”

According to the American Cancer Society, transportation can be a cancer patient’s biggest roadblock to treatment, and providing rides can help save lives.

“My best friend passed away of metastatic lung cancer, and part of my job was to get him to his doctor’s appointments,” said Nunez. “When I heard about this program after he had passed away, it just seemed like a great fit to not only pay tribute to him but to help other people that were in his situation at the time.”

When you volunteer, you will be helping people like Gracie, who says she would not be able to make her appointments without this program.

“I’ve been with this program for the past five years, and the volunteers, [Nunez] and Ms. Betsy, they’ve always been helping me,” said Gracie.

To volunteer or get more information, visit cancer.org/drive, or contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

Here are the requirements to become a volunteer driver:

  • You must have a good driving record
  • Current, valid driver’s license
  • Access to a safe and reliable vehicle
  • Proof of adequate automobile insurance
  • Complete an American Cancer Society training course.
  • Follow American Cancer Society COVID-19 safety guidelines

American Cancer Society works with your schedule and only schedules rides when you are available.

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