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Road to Recovery starts with drivers
New program seeking volunteers with wheels
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Forsyth County News

Linda Conyers has been touched by cancer more than most.

"My husband died of a blood cancer in 2005, then my mom died of ovarian cancer in 2006, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007," she said.

Luckily, the past couple years have gone more smoothly and she’s found a way to give back to others battling the disease.

Conyers is looking for volunteers willing to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program, which provides rides to and from medical appointments and treatments.

Suzanne Hendricks, community manager with the American Cancer Society, said the organization’s goal is to eventually have active and well-established Road to Recovery programs in every Georgia county.

"This will be the first time we’ve tried to establish this in Forsyth," she said. "We have active programs in Gwinnett, Hall, north Fulton, and a few of the north Georgia counties have programs."

Conyers was inspired to start the local program largely because of her mother, Martha Basenberg, who lived in Texas during her cancer treatments.

Since Conyers lived in Cumming, her brother took her mother to most of her treatments, frequently having to miss work.

"I tried to get to Texas at least once a month to give my mother some help and support and my brother some relief from all that he was having to do," Conyers said.

"I kept thinking that there must be some program available to help out in situations such as ours."

She searched online and eventually came across the Road to Recovery program.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t available in her mother’s town due to a lack of volunteers.

"That has previously been the case here in Forsyth County," she said. "But even in an affluent county such as ours, you would be surprised by how many cancer patients need rides to their treatment."

Hendricks said those in need often aren’t that way due to a lack of a vehicle or family and friends.

"Cancer treatments take many days and a lot of times people’s family and friends just can’t take that much time off from work," she said.

Through the Road to Recovery, volunteers give "as much or as little" as they want to help others.

"There’s no time requirement, other than a short training session," Conyers said.

Volunteers must also undergo a background check, have a good driving record, valid driver’s license, auto insurance and a vehicle in good working condition.

"The program is super flexible," added Hendricks. "People can say, ‘I can only drive someone on Tuesdays or I don’t want to drive outside of the county.’ There are no obligations."

So far, Conyers has recruited about a dozen volunteers through her church, Cumming First United Methodist, and is looking for as many as possible.

"We know there is a need for this program here in Forsyth," she said.