NORTHEAST PA — An estimated 77,710 Pennsylvania residents will learn they have cancer this year, and getting to their scheduled treatment will be one of their greatest roadblocks.

To ensure patients get to the critical care they need without additional stress, the American Cancer Society Road To Recovery® program can help provide free transportation to and from treatment for people who have cancer and who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves.

The Road to Recovery program is in urgent need of volunteer drivers in northeastern Pennsylvania, particularly in Monroe, Wayne, Pike, Lehigh and Luzerne counties.

“Every driver has what it takes to help save lives,” said Jennifer Washney, Program Manager, Mission Delivery, for the American Cancer Society.

“We’re urgently asking drivers to donate their passenger seat and volunteer to take cancer patients to treatment.”

Many cancer patients don’t own a vehicle, can’t afford the extra gasoline, or don’t have access to public transportation. Some patients may be elderly and unable to drive, too ill to drive, or have no family members or friends who are able to provide regular assistance with transportation.

Even the best treatment can’t work if a patient can’t get there.

“Some patients don’t have access to transportation at all, and public transportation is not ideal for those who are in treatment and who are fatigued, sick, and often at risk of infection,” said Washney.

“Transportation programs are vital for these patients to get the treatments they need and deserve. But the program not only helps patients, it’s also rewarding for the volunteers.”

The Road To Recovery program provides transportation options for patients in these situations.

Volunteer drivers donate their time and the use of their vehicles so patients can receive the cancer-related treatments they need. Drivers also provide encouragement and support.

To volunteer, you must have a valid driver’s license, a safe and reliable vehicle, and proof of automobile insurance. Drivers must be at least 18 years old and have a good driving history.

They arrange their own schedules and can commit as many or as few hours as their schedule allows. The American Cancer Society provides free training to drivers and conducts criminal background and driving record checks.

Volunteer coordinators also are needed and help schedule the requested rides.

Coordinators can work from any location that is convenient for them – even taking their work to a warmer climate during the winter months. Great organization and communication skills can make a major impact on the well-being of cancer patients in the community.

Good computer skills and internet access are required for volunteer coordinators.

For information about the Road To Recovery program, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.