Program offering free rides to cancer patients hopes to expand in Valley

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A longtime program offered by the American Cancer Society is hoping to expand its services in the Central Valley. (KFSN)

A longtime program offered by the American Cancer Society is hoping to expand its services in the Central Valley. Road to Recovery connects cancer patients with volunteer drivers, who take them to and from their treatments for free.

Sitting in on a conversation between Sandra Weatherly and Dale Buchanan, you'd think they're old friends. But the two met just last month through the Road to Recovery program.

Buchanan has been a volunteer driver for a year and was there to lend a helping hand when Weatherly first began her lung cancer treatments.

"It made the journey out there so much easier, and I felt like I got so much support," said Weatherly.

The program provides cancer patients with transportation to and from treatment facilities for free. It's a service that's equally beneficial for the drivers who volunteer their time.

"It is therapeutic for me because I was not a happy camper when I started doing this, and now I do it every day," said Buchanan.

Buchanan is a cancer survivor himself and lost his wife to cancer two years ago. He says this program is a way to give back.

"I get more out of it because of people like this. When I tell them my story, the first thing I know she's got her arm around me saying 'it's going to be OK, honey.' It's just a wonderful experience for me," said Buchanan.

In an average week, the Road to Recovery program provides about 30 rides. With 40 volunteers in the Fresno area, organizers are now hoping to find volunteers to reach people in rural places like Chowchilla, Kingsburg and Selma.

"I think it's absolutely wonderful, especially when we are older and live alone and don't have family. It's just amazing even to talk and meet somebody different and have the time to visit with them," said Weatherly.

Adults between the ages of 18 and 85 can apply to volunteer. They must have a reliable car and a valid driver's license. For more information, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
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