When Jackie Oyer retired from her job, she started looking for a worthwhile way to spend her time. That's when she found the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program.
Oyer became one of the local volunteer drivers providing free rides for cancer patients to and from their medical treatments.
"There are a lot of ways to volunteer out there, but I wanted it to count," said Oyer.
Getting to and from medical treatments is one of the greatest concerns cancer patients face during treatment, according to Linda Sites, community outreach specialist for the American Cancer Society.
“One cancer patient requiring radiation therapy could need anywhere from 20 to 30 trips to treatment in six weeks," said Sites. “A patient receiving chemotherapy might report for treatment weekly for up to a year. In many cases, a patient is driven to hospitals or clinics by relatives or friends, but even these patients must occasionally seek alternative transportation. That’s where the Road to Recovery program comes in.”
In Stanislaus County, there have been 381 requests for transportation from January to May this year alone, said Sites.
There is also a need for drivers in the Turlock area specifically.
“The program not only helps patients, but is also rewarding for the volunteer. Several of our drivers have volunteered for a number of years,” added Sites.
Oyer said her experience as a volunteer driver for the past seven years has been definitely worth the time and effort.
"It can be an emotional thing, but I've met some of the most wonderful, courageous people," she said.
The American Cancer Society is holding a Road to Recovery program informational open house from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Aug. 19 at the Emanuel Cancer Center Conference Room, located at 880 E. Tuolumne Rd., in Turlock.
For more information about the program, contact the American Cancer Society at 524-7241.