Volunteers Help Cancer Patients on the Road to Recovery
When John Ritchie had the chance to retire in 2013, he took it. But he’s not letting his lack of a job slow him down.
“With all my free time, I decided to start volunteering,” said Ritchie, who formerly served as an information technology technician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Working behind the scenes in UAMS’ telemedicine program, Richie didn’t get much one-on-one time with patients. Now as a volunteer, that’s changing.
After learning about the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Road to Recovery program, Ritchie saw an opportunity to give back to his community by doing something as simple as driving his car.
Road to Recovery is a national program that provides free transportation to and from treatment for cancer patients who are unable to drive themselves or otherwise lack transportation. Locally, ACS has about 12 volunteers who drive cancer patients to the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and other cancer treatment facilities across Pulaski County.
“It’s humbling to help someone else. Sometimes on the ride, the patients will open up and give me some insight about what they’re going through,” Ritchie said. “Their kindness sticks with me.”
Anyone in active cancer treatment who lacks transportation to his or her medical appointments can call the ACS Patient Service Center at (877) 277-1618 or visit www.cancer.org/treatment/supportprogramsservices for more information. If the patient is unable to walk unassisted, another person must accompany them for the ride.
People interested in becoming volunteer drivers may contact Christy McCreight at (501) 603-5200.