Luxury car program brings cancer patients to treatment in style


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN GIBSON

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on April 13, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 13 at 6:41 PM

AUSTIN -- "What did I do wrong? What caused this?"

Those questions ran through Pat Mattingly's mind. After eight years of being cancer free, last July the 67-year-old learned her breast cancer had come back, this time attacking her ribs and lumbar.

"I didn't know that it traveled," she said. "So it was something that was quite shocking when he told me that."

Now comes the fight. Walking into the Austin Cancer Center for treatment is easy. The challenge is getting there.

"I can drive, and I have a vehicle," Mattingly said. "There are some days when I'm like, 'I don't know if I can face this drive.'"

This week life is piling more weight onto her load.

"I was just informed on Wednesday that I will be unemployed as of the 25th of this month. I no longer have a job. So it's just very difficult, and I'm finding it hard to keep a positive attitude," said Mattingly. 

That's where Ken Adams comes in.

"It's difficult enough to have cancer; getting to treatment shouldn't be difficult," Adams said. 

A cancer survivor himself, Adams founded the program Your Ride is Here.

"I was going through treatment, and I'd be sitting in the waiting room, and people [would] be arriving by bus, by cab, sometimes friends or family would drop them off. A lot of people were challenged with the getting to treatment, not just the treatment," Adams said. 

Adams says missing a treatment can cut the effectiveness of cancer treatment by 20 percent, so he wanted to help. A car lover, Adams teamed up with luxury car dealer Sonny Morgan, president of John Eagle European, to offer free rides in the most exotic and luxurious of cars.

"I've had very many people very near and dear to me pass away. My father died of lung cancer," Morgan said. "If there's anything I can do to help prolong life in this horrible, horrible disease, it would be to help someone make it to their chemo."

Friday, the pair gave Mattingly her joy back.

"She has no idea what we're going to pick her up in; she just knows it's something pretty special," Adams said. 

"I hardly slept last night, I was so excited," Mattingly said. "After I talked to Ken last night, I did not think once about what I had been told earlier this week."

When thinking about what kind of car she wanted to ride in Mattingly said, "I want something that's going to make me feel like a queen."

Her anticipation grew as she stood outside her home waiting for her ride. Moments later, a gray car with a recognizable hood ornament appeared on her street.

"Oh my God," Mattingly exclaimed. "It's a Rolls Royce!"

And it was not just any Rolls Royce. It's a rare, new model -- the 2012, $400,000 Rolls Royce Ghost, fully equipped with features like lamb's wool rugs and seats that massage your back.

It was the boost Mattingly needed to push her back into the ring in her fight against cancer.

"I've come too far now to quit. I thought about it at one point, but I've come too far to quit. I'm going to beat it," she said. 

Mattingly has just two more chemo treatments. Her doctor says things are looking good.

You Ride is Here is growing. In addition to offering rides in luxury cars, volunteers who drive more ordinary cars also drive patients to treatment, and Adams is in the process of expanding the program into Houston.

Click here for more information about Your Ride is Here.