American Cancer Society, Spectrum, provides rides to cancer patients

REED CITY — Every day, thousands of cancer patients need a ride to treatment, but some may not have a way to get there. When you have cancer, you shouldn’t have to worry about how you’re going to get to and from critically-needed treatment.

The American Cancer Society has partnered with Spectrum Health to expand its Road to Recovery program. The following options are available:

n As a collaborative effort between Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital and Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital, a handicap-accessible van is now available for patients in Lake, Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties to receive free transportation to Reed City for cancer treatment at the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center.

n The Road to Recovery program also is available for cancer patients in other areas, utilizing volunteer vehicles.

Volunteer drivers provide transportation to people with cancer who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves. The program is coordinated by the American Cancer Society.

“We saw a huge need for transportation services within the communities we serve,” said Irene Balowski, director of the Wheatlake cancer center. “Not having a car or a ride to get to and from vital, life-saving treatment is an unnecessary stressor for our patients, when they need all of their energy to heal. The Road to Recovery program is a way for us to meet our patients’ needs.”

Volunteer drivers also are needed for the program. Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older and hold a valid driver’s license. They must have patience, a strong desire to help others and sensitivity to client needs. Opportunities are available five days a week and volunteers can commit to as many or as few hours as their schedule allows.

To volunteer or secure a ride, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.