AUSTIN, Texas — Carol McDaniel's journey with cancer has become a little easier, thanks to volunteers like Jordan Robbins with the American Cancer Society, who drives her to her appointments through the Road to Recovery program.
"I was diagnosed April 19,” said McDaniel, an Austinite with breast cancer. "It was just that initial phone call from the doctor. Once you hear that, everything just kind of gets blurry a little bit."
"A lot of times these patients may be doing this alone,” added Robbins. “They don't necessarily have the support system around them that a lot of us have been blessed with."
Robbins is a pre-med student at the University of Texas who said his whole outlook on patient care changed because of the volunteering experience.
He has given about 30 rides to patients since March, including McDaniel.
As he is applying to medical school, he volunteers with the program because he wants to interact with patients.
"It's fun to find that common ground,” said Robbins. “Talk about things that may be going on outside of the cancer treatment."
The Road to Recovery program provides free rides to those treatments.
Robbins and McDaniel talk about sports, family and TV shows during car rides. These car conversations help McDaniel forget about the diagnosis.
"Along with my surgeons and my radiation therapists, they're part of the story,” said McDaniel.
McDaniel adds that thanks to regular screening, doctors found the cancer early. While she has a five percent chance of recurrence, she said she is going to celebrate.
"I'm going to be cancer-free and I'm going to be a survivor,” she said.
Monday was her last ride with Robbins.
"I think, ultimately, it's just important to just show somebody that you care for them,” said Robbins. “That you want to be there for them."
If you would like to use the Road to Recovery program to get to your treatments, call the American Cancer Society’s hotline 1-800-227-2345.
If you would like to volunteer, you can also visit the Road to Recovery web page.
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