Road to Recovery program links cancer patients to free transportation

Road to Recovery program links cancer patients to free transportation
Dick Tuttle has logged over 3,000 miles giving rides to cancer patients like Irma.
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A program links cancer patients with transportation to their appointments. But the "Road to Recovery" is so much more than a free ride.

Dick Tuttle is helping Irma Dehuelves on her road to recovery from breast cancer. This is the third time Tuttle has picked up Irma at her home in South Miami Heights to drive her to radiation treatments at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Tuttle is a volunteer with the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program, providing free transportation to patients like Irma.

"I need the service because I got no insurance, got no transportation. It's the only way I can take care of myself," she said.

Tuttle has logged more than 3,000 miles on his personal car, but he doesn't see himself as just a driver.

"On the road to receiving hands-on treatment by the medical professionals - you're also part of the process," he said. 

Tuttle is a retired prison chaplain who makes good use of the long drive.

"This patient that I had, we used to talk about living in the moment," he said.

Tuttle is part of the support system making sure cancer patients get the treatments they need - a surrogate of sorts for loved ones unable to help.

"I've had a patient call her daughter to talk to me just to say 'thank you because I can't be there; I live out of state,'" said Tuttle.

"The public transportation system is not adequate enough for patients to come from one point to another especially if a patient is really really sick waiting for a bus is going to take a lifetime," said Mara Chavannes, ACS patient navigator.

Making it to all her daily radiation treatments increases the odds that Irma's cancer will be controlled.

The program is available in Indianapolis and the surrounding counties through the American Cancer Society. You can also request a ride or become a volunteer by calling 1-800-227-2345.