Marybeth Torsell speaking at the Van Wert Senior Center. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Marybeth Torsell speaking at the Van Wert Senior Center. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT – Marybeth Torsell, representing the American Cancer Society, recently told a group of people over a luncheon at the Van Wert Senior Center that there is currently an acute need for drivers to haul county cancer patients to various medical service needs within the framework of their particular cancer illness.

“Every day thousands of cancer patients nationwide need a ride to treatment, but some may not have a way to get there,” said Torsell. “The American Cancer Society Road to Recovery program provides transportation to and from treatment for people with cancer who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves.”

Torsell said that depending on individual needs, cancer patients needing a medical needs ride can coordinate a ride with an American Cancer Society volunteer driver.

“Coordinate a ride with a local organization that has partnered with us to provide transportation,” said Torsell. “We will refer you to a local resource you can contact for help.

“Patients must be traveling to a cancer-related medical appointment,” said Torsell. “Other eligibility requirements may apply. For example, a caregiver may need to accompany a patient who cannot walk without help, or is under age 18. Contact us to find out what is available in your area and what the specific requirements are.”

Torsell said that some counties have drivers who volunteer their time and car to drive cancer patients to and from appointments. She noted that Van Wert does not presently provide that service. Torsell stressed that the ACS is looking for people who would be willing to volunteer to start the service back up again.

“I’d really like to get that service back in Van Wert,” said Torsell. “Even if I get three, maybe four drivers, I feel that could really help out.”

Torsell said that in order to qualify to be a cancer driver, the volunteer must own a safe and reliable vehicle, have a current valid driver’s license, have proof of auto insurance, have a good driving record, attend a training session and possess general computer skills.

“Sometimes the biggest challenge in cancer treatment is getting there,” said Torsell. “Every day there is a cancer patient missing treatment because he or she doesn’t have a ride. “

The American Cancer Society Road to Recovery program provides free transportation for cancer patients to and from their treatments. Volunteers are needed.

For information, contact Marybeth Torsell at 1-888-227-6446 ext. 5101.

“For as little as a few hours a month, you can make a big difference in someone’s life,” said Torsell