Program assisting cancer patients desperately needs volunteers

Milton Arnold rides with volunteer Pat Woods to a recent appointment.
Milton Arnold rides with volunteer Pat Woods to a recent appointment.

There is so much to think about for someone fighting cancer, including something as simple as how you're going to get to your treatments.

For those who have had to face that question, there's a program in the midlands that has an answer. It's the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery.

At 91, the last thing Columbia resident Milton Arnold wanted to hear was the word cancer. "Bone cancer, in the inner part of the bone," said Arnold.

His diagnosis came three months ago, around the same time he and his wife Mary Frances got in a car accident."I don't have anything but the truck," said Arnold. "My other vehicle… we had an accident and it got tore up."

While he still manages to drive locally, he says trying to figure out how he would drive more than twenty miles to his weekly cancer treatments seemed overwhelming. "I'm 91 years-old, and I don't want to drive through town no more," said Arnold.

That's where volunteer Pat Woods with Road to Recovery comes in.

"I just live five minutes from here, and he goes at 11 in the morning," said Woods. But she adds she didn't always know that. "I retired to baby sit my grand baby thinking that would be wonderful, and then I got really bored, so I investigated volunteering things."

Woods says she found the Road to Recovery program online and then was connected to Milton. "When I first started, I went in thinking I was really going to help people, which I am," said Woods. "But I really feel that I'm being blessed. It's really opened my eyes to the enormity of cancer in our community."

While both Pat and Milton are eager for Milton's cancer to disappear, for now they're embracing their friendship birthed out of the circumstance. "He even has me go in the doctor's office like I'm his daughter," said Woods adding she really feels that way. "I do, he's my friend."

If you're interested in being a volunteer driver like Pat Woods, the American Cancer Society says they have a huge need for drivers in the Midlands, especially in rural areas.

Please call Janie Smith at (803) 603-1745 if you want to be a driver. If you are a patient who needs a ride call (800) 227-2345.

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