Getting to and from appointments may seem like the least of the problems that come with a cancer diagnosis. However, according to Lindsay Nelson of the American Cancer Society, some patients just aren’t able to get to their treatments so they don’t get the care they need.

“A lot of patients, even if they do drive, their medications make them pretty sleepy and they shouldn’t be driving,” Nelson said. “Some people have friends and family that can take them, but some don’t.”

A national program called Road to Recovery connects volunteer drivers with cancer patients to remove this barrier. In January, the program was introduced in Cache Valley for the first time. Six local drivers are ready to donate their time, vehicles and gasoline to the cause.

 Austin Broadhead, a premed student at Utah State University, was the first driver to sign up in January.

“I just imagine being a cancer patient, and you have all these things you’re going through: the stress of the situation, the toll that it takes physically and mentally, and on top of that some people don’t have access to transportation,” Broadhead said.

Broadhead said he feels fortunate to have the resources he does, so he tries to share them with those in need. Although some patients might have the option of paying for transportation, it adds to the financial burden of cancer treatment. Broadhead said he hopes to make that burden a little lighter.

“I feel like I can offer a hand of friendship and care and hopefully take a little bit of that weight off their shoulders,” Broadhead said.

After completing a background check and filling out the paperwork, Broadhead was excited to start helping patients. However, in the nearly six months since he signed up, he hasn’t had the chance to give anyone a ride.

Broadhead said at first, he assumed no one needed a ride because they had the help of their family and friends. But after speaking with Nelson, he learned there really was a need in the community.

“Since it’s so brand new, most people don’t know about it yet,” Nelson said.

 Drivers set their own mileage and determine how far they’re willing and able to drive. Broadhead is ready to cover some ground.

“I set my mileage big enough that I could cover all of Cache Valley,” he said.

Patients in need of transportation are encouraged to call 1-800-227-2345 and give their appointment schedules. Nelson said it takes about three business days to figure out the scheduling. Once the plan is in place, Cache Valley’s local drivers will get in touch with the patients and tell them what vehicle to expect and work out any other little details.

“We’re really excited to get driving and get people to their treatments,” Nelson said.