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Rochester resident Patrick Kern helps cancer patients



One mile at a time

Learn about the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery


Patrick Kern of Rochester knows firsthand how hard it can be for cancer patients to find transportation to and from their appointments. For eleven years, until her death in 2012, Kern was the caregiver for his wife, Elizabeth, who fought a long battle with breast cancer.

“Elizabeth and I used to wonder during our trips to her appointments how people who are alone manage this,” Kern commented. “I was her caregiver and her main source of transportation to and from her many doctor and hospital visits.”

Transportation is one of the main barriers cancer patients face to receiving treatment. This is why the American Cancer Society created the Road To Recovery® volunteer program – in order to provide cancer patients with free rides to treatment.

“Inevitably, when I pick up a cancer patient for the first time, they ask me if I am a survivor, thinking that is why I volunteer to drive. I then tell them about Elizabeth,” Kern added.

After pausing the Road To Recovery® program due to public health concerns during the COVID pandemic, the American Cancer Society is now set to relaunch it in select areas throughout the country. Volunteerdrivers are currently needed to support the effort in the New York counties of Dutchess, Putnam, Albany, Saratoga, Orange, Greene, Ulster, and Washington.

Kern noted, “My favorite part of being a driver, without a doubt, is the real bond I have been able to make with many of the patients I have driven. They are such wonderful people and have become much more than some random patients.”

People wishing to become drivers for the Road To Recovery® program must possess a current and valid driver’s license, have a good driving record, show proof of adequate automotive insurance, have access to a safe and reliable vehicle, and the ability to access the internet to schedule availability and secure rides.

“We all need to do a better job making the public aware of the many people fighting cancer who – for a number of reasons – find it very difficult to get to and from their doctor and treatment appointments. And, we need to educate more retired people, like me, on how rewarding it is to volunteer for the Road To Recovery® program,” stated Kern.

To learn more about volunteering for the American Cancer Society Road To Recovery® program, visit cancer.org/drive. If you are a cancer patient needing transportation assistance, contact the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345.



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