BEDFORD — A caring group of dedicated volunteer drivers for the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program are giving cancer patients a much-needed lift. Road to Recovery is a service that helps get cancer patients transportation to their treatment.
Doug Killen of Gilford has been volunteering since 1995, and coordinates rides for the program as well as volunteering as a driver. He has provided 600 rides himself, on top of making sure all patient requests have been met and engaging other volunteers in his community.
Dave Shea, a driver from Laconia, has consistently gone above and beyond as a driver since his start in 2006, providing more than 450 rides. For the past three years, Shea has been driving a patient from his community to Dartmouth Hitchcock for appointments and has developed a friendship out of the experience. Shea and the Laconia community have reached out to this patient in many other ways as well, offering help around the house and yard.
In 2017, doctors discovered a tumor in Shea's wife Barbara’s sinuses. The couple took comfort in their connections to the community, and the tight knit group of drivers they had come to know and trust. Just as they had done for patients they had served, these Road to Recovery drivers were quick to rally around them and offer them the same support in return.
“For me it was a combination of help in many ways. These drivers know what it’s like to go through an uncertain time in their life. Most of them have either been through a cancer diagnosis themselves or have had a family member or close friend go through it. They can offer support and encouragement. It was really comforting to know that other people have gone through the same experiences and they reassured me that there was a light at the end of the tunnel,” commented Shea.
Killen and Shea volunteer with a dedicated group of drivers, including Ed Goucher, Don Oullette, John Walker, and John Wooley of Laconia; Cindy Deal of New Hampton; and Corrine Alami of Meredith.
“Every day, thousands of cancer patients need a ride to and from their treatments,” said Jordan McCormick, program manager, American Cancer Society. “Even the best treatment can’t work if a cancer patient can’t get there.”
Volunteer drivers are needed across New Hampshire to help give cancer patients a much-needed ride. The society screens and trains all volunteer drivers and coordinates the rides for patients. Drivers donate their time, use of their vehicle, and can provide as many rides as they want.
All drivers must have a current, valid driver’s license, a good driving record, access to a safe and reliable vehicle, computer access, and proof of car insurance.
To learn more about volunteering for the Road To Recovery program, visit cancer.org.