I started volunteer driving many years ago for the American Cancer Society. Back then this volunteer driving program was called Angels on Wheels. Because I am blessed to only work part time and my schedule is flexible, this is a perfect volunteer job for me! I am a busy person who tends to fill up every space on my calendar but there has always been room to drive patients to their appointments a couple of times per month. Sometimes I think, “this may be out of my way”, “this might take too long” or “I might not feel like waiting while the patient is at their appointment.” I think these thoughts are normal and we would be lying if we said these thoughts never enter our minds.
However, I can say 100 % with honest conviction that I have never regretted a volunteer driving experience. I come away happy, satisfied and renewed. You meet the most amazing people during these drives over the hill ( I live on the Windward side of Oahu and usually drive the patients over to the Honolulu side of the island). I met a woman who was nearly blind, had cancer, had a sore shoulder, and walked with a cane. She was the most generous, loving, interesting person I have ever met. She shared parts of her life story with me and I shared mine. I try not to ask any personal questions but if the person wants to open up, I am a good listener. Helping people is the best way to forget about your own problems and it reminds me that we are all connected. Every good deed comes right back to help us feel connected to every other human being. I hope someday if my loved ones need this service that it will still be available. It really is such a simple gesture to give someone a ride to chemotherapy, radiation, or the doctor’s office. So simple and so rewarding!
~Ann Dewey, ACS Volunteer Road to Recovery Driver
To sign up for Road to Recovery, visit this link or call 808-595-7500
If you ever wanted to learn more about cancer in general, this ground breaking documentary by , “The Emperor of All Maladies” will be screening at PBS on March 25. Sign up for the free screening here.