Cancer patients to get free rides thanks to Livestrong Foundation

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by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN GUSKY

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 8, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 8 at 11:14 PM

AUSTIN -- Hundreds of cancer patients may soon be able to get to and from their medical appointments thanks to a new transportation program started by the Livestrong Foundation.

Cecile Hollyfield got an unexpected and unwanted birthday gift just a couple of months ago. She was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I found something like a small, Mexican lime," Hollyfield said. "The next week it was a lemon. About two weeks later it felt like the HEB produce truck, so it was fast growing and I needed to get things taken care of quickly."

Hollyfield lives alone and doesn't own a vehicle.

"Suddenly my whole world stopped and I was immersed in cancer diagnosis and treatments options, where things were located and how was I going to get there since I didn't have a car," said Hollyfield. "Just all these things. I had no idea what were the answers. There was a lot of despair. I didn't know what I was going to do. I came across Livestrong."

Specifically the newly created Livestrong Transportation Program.

"The Livestrong Transportation Program is critical, because it just removes another barrier," said Doug Ulman, the Livestrong Foundation President and CEO. "The fact that people in our community who are facing cancer could jeopardize their therapy or their ultimate survival because of a lack of transportation is unacceptable."

The Livestrong Transportation Program will take Travis County cancer patients who register, to and from their medical appointments. The program is volunteer-based. Currently there are 24 volunteers, but the program needs to many more.

"Depending on how many rides a person needs that could take five to six volunteers just for one person's needs," said Athan Schindler, the Livestrong Foundation Navigation Manager.

Hollyfield said just having the physical logistics worked out has helped her as she prepares for her chemotherapy treatments which begin in about a week.

"There are times when the future has looked so bleak that all I could see was black bricks surrounding me," said Hollyfield. "Livestrong hasn't changed what mostly my problems are, but it's changed my perception in what I can do about them. For that I am profoundly grateful."
 
To make the transportation program work, Livestrong has partnered with Car2go, Faith In Action caregivers and the Seton Shivers Center.

Livestrong Foundation representatives say there are hundreds of cancer patients in Travis County that need rides. If you're interested in becoming a volunteer driver, check out this link: www.Livestrong.org/givearide

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