New program benefits cancer patients


ARENAC COUNTY — Cancer patients in Arenac County will soon have free transportation to and from doctor appointments though the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery Program, and volunteer drivers are needed.

“This is the one program Arenac County doesn’t have through the American Cancer Society,” said Karen Weishuhn, the coordinator for Arenac County’s Road to Recovery program. “We want to have a complete program.”

Weishuhn said that there is no charge to patients for the service, and patients are also not required to have a physician’s referral.

However, it is crucial that the program get enough volunteers to meet the needs of the county.

“We might get two (patients) a year; we might get two a week. We just don’t know yet,” Weishuhn said.

“We will need a to have a core group of 20-30 people taking the initial training to assure that we always have a volunteer that can take a cancer survivor to his or her appointment,” she said.

Angela Putnam of the ACS Bay Area Service Center said that the Road to Recovery Program has been part of the ACS for about 30 years, but this is the first time it has been put in place in Arenac County.

“It’s basically determined by a needs assessment,” Putnam said.

She also said that it is through the efforts of those involved with Relay for Life that the program can be set up in Arenac County.

“They’ve been working hard,” she said.

A one-day, 3-hour training session will give all necessary information to interested volunteers. The session will cover the procedures, rules and policies within the Road to Recovery Program, as well as address subjects that might come up during a volunteer’s conversation with a cancer patient.

“We hope to have it up and running sometime in May,” Weishuhn said about the earliest the Road to Recovery Program would be in place.

Requirements to be a volunteer include having a valid driver’s license, having a good driving record, having access to a safe and reliable vehicle, providing proof of adequate insurance, being at least 25 years old and attending a Road to Recovery training session.

The training session for Arenac County is Thursday, April 29, at 6 p.m. at the Community United Methodist Church in Standish. Interested volunteers can register by calling the American Cancer Society at 800-728-2323 or Karen Weishuhn at 846-6975.


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