NEW YORK — For many cancer patients, getting to medical appointments could be a matter of life and death. It’s why The American Cancer Society runs a program providing free rides for patients like Albert Nanez.
Twice a week, Nanez travels about a half hour from home for his cancer treatments. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma two years ago.
“Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the blood inside the bone marrow of your bones,” he said.
Nanez is unable to drive himself so he relies on others to make sure he never misses a treatment. He recently turned to the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery– a program that pairs patients with volunteer drivers.
“There are cancer patients needing rides everyday.”
Ryan Okita says the numbers show how vital that need is.
Last year alone Road to Recovery provided 340,000 rides nationwide for around 20,000 cancer patients to or from treatment. It’s all thanks to about 10,000 volunteer drivers.
“Family members and friends aren’t always available, so our Road to Recovery program really helps these cancer patients to get to treatment when there’s no other way to get there.”
Now the program is getting a boost thanks to Lyft. The ride-sharing company is providing rides for patients in New Jersey and nine other cities with plans to expand. The American Cancer Society pays for the ride.
It’s one less worry for patients like Nunez as they continue to fight.
The American Cancer Society says they’re always looking for volunteers to help with patient rides. If you’re interested, you can sign up on their website at www.cancer.org.