Road to Recovery Program Helps Cancer Patients in Need Seeking Local Volunteers
Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” The Cancer Program at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health attributes much of its success – in providing comprehensive cancer care and support services – to partnerships with various community organizations.
Through its partnerships with area medical providers, community organizations, churches and an army of volunteers, the Program offers cancer patients, cancer survivors and residents throughout the five-county region a variety of support services ranging from preventive screenings to holiday meals to transportation services, all at no cost.
“The support we receive from our community partners and volunteers is invaluable,” comments Brian Leutner, director of Oncology Services, UM Shore Regional Health. Because of their commitment, the Cancer Program provides greater accessibility to patient-centered health care services and a more positive experience overall.”
Among the available programs at the Cancer Center is the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery Program. Road to Recovery works with the Cancer Program to provide free transportation to patients who face challenges getting to their cancer treatments at the Cancer Center, which is located at 509 Idlewild Avenue in Easton. More than 40 volunteer drivers in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties give of their time, using their own cars and gas, to ensure that patients maintain their treatment schedules.
“Cancer Center team members depend on the kindness and dedication that our local Road to Recovery drivers demonstrate in helping our patients receive quality cancer care,” adds Leutner. “Without this program, many of our patients would not be able to maintain therapeutic treatment schedules and therefore, would not experience the positive outcomes that many of them do.”
The Road to Recovery Program is coordinated locally by retired Maryland State Police Officer and businessman, Elmer Parkerson, who serves as a volunteer driver himself. As coordinator, Parkerson facilitates the American Cancer Society’s required orientation for new drivers, maintains records of insurance coverage and safe driving records, and matches drivers to patients’ appointment schedules.
“I can’t say enough about the volunteer drivers in the program,” says Parkerson. “They are always willing to respond when called upon to meet the needs of many patients who require treatment and reliable transportation. The drivers are the glue that holds the Road to Recovery program together - I just squeeze the tube.”
“Elmer is an invaluable resource to the patients we serve,” says Leutner. “As a Road to Recovery volunteer for more than eight years, he has a firm understanding of the needs of our patients and the Cancer Program as a whole, making him a tremendous asset to our team members and his fellow volunteer drivers.”
To meet the transportation needs of more patients, the Road to Recovery Program is currently seeking new volunteers throughout the five-county region served by UM Shore Regional Health. “It is critical to the continued success of the Road to Recovery Program – and most importantly to our patients who are in need of life-saving cancer treatments – that we recruit additional volunteer drivers,” remarks Leutner.
Information about the Program and the American Cancer Society’s recruitment and orientation process can be obtained by calling the Cancer Center at 410-820-6800. To learn more about additional support services offered by the Cancer Program at UM Shore Regional Health, visit UMShoreRegional.org/cancer_program.
As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.
Elmer Parkerson, local coordinator for the Road to Recovery Program, has provided transportation to area cancer patients for more than eight years.