Program offers free rides to treatment for cancer patients

February 20, 2018 11:58 PM

Aside from good healthcare, one of the largest barriers to treatment for cancer patients face is having transportation to get to their cancer treatment appointments. 

That's where people like Laura Mattiske comes in. 

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“They're already battling cancer and to have to worry about how they're going to get to their treatments to fight this fight has got to be terrible for them,” Mattiske said.

This is why Mattiske volunteers as a driver for the American Cancer Society's Road To Recovery program. 

“The road to recovery program is where volunteers volunteer their time and use of their vehicle to drive patients to and from their cancer treatments,” said American Cancer Society Program Delivery Mission Manager, Wendy Stickley-Ocker, who works out of Latham. 

“The people can't tell you enough how much they appreciate what you're doing for them,” Mattiske said. “They are so grateful.” 

That includes people like Natalie who Mattiske drove to a cancer treatment appointment in Latham Tuesday. 

Stickley-Ocker said the patients either have no way of getting to treatment or can't drive themselves.

The program is also in need of more drivers.

“There's a strong need for drivers right now,” Mattiske said. “The woman I'm driving today has radiation 5 days a week and I only can drive her two days a week.” 

Anyone with a driver’s license can sign up. 

“They have to just go through some training with us here at the American Cancer Society and pass a DMV check,” Stickley-Ocker said. 

The volunteers have different reasons for wanting to get involved. Some are more personal than others. 

“My mom had cancer and I made a promise to her that I would somehow get involved in the fight against cancer,” Mattiske said. 

“I'm a cancer survivor of 18 years and I knew how important it was for me to have that support,” Stickley-Ocker said. 

The patients are not the only ones who benefit.

“And it's helping heal my heart when I lost my mom,” Mattiske said. “These people are helping me I'm not only helping them.”

Rides are provided primarily Monday through Saturday. 

Transportation depends on community resources and needs and may not be available everywhere.


Nia Hamm

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