CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Novant Health has received a $25,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to continue its ability to offer ride services for cancer patients who need travel assistance to get to and from diagnosis.

The service is called “Road to Recovery,” it has been in service in the Charlotte-Winston-Salem area through Novant Health since 2021.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 67,000 new cancer diagnoses in North Carolina in 2023.

Each new diagnosis uncovers a system of barriers that prevent some patients from getting the care they need.

According to Charlotte patients who rely on it, the program has given them a better chance to fight their disease.

Felicia Barber, a breast cancer patient, has used the service since her diagnosis in early 2022.

She has relied consistently on Road to Recovery drivers to take her to her appointments at Novant Health in Ballantyne.

“It made all the difference in the world,” she explained.

Her diagnosis was given shortly after she moved from New York to North Carolina.

She could rely on friends and family to take her to her appointments, but it was a situation that was never supposed to be a long-term solution.

She also lost the ability to drive herself for a short time due to a rare reaction her body had to chemotherapy, where she developed water blisters on her eyes.

“When my family or my friends couldn’t get me here, there was something else in place,” she told Queen City News.

Felicia’s nurse navigator, Lisa Hamilton, told her about the program and even helped her schedule appointments to be taken to and from appointments.

“There are a lot of appointments that come with a cancer diagnosis that you don’t think about up front,” Lisa said. “You start your radiation, and then you’ve got weeks and weeks.”

In her 20-plus years in the medical field, Lisa said she understood why transportation is a barrier for patients who cannot get treatment.

“There are people who can’t afford an Uber, or a Taxi, or take public transportation to get there to their appointment,” said Lisa. “If we can just take on stressor from the patient, then that’s a big deal.”

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The American Cancer Society said they have roughly 50+ drivers who have helped 75 patients get to their appointments, but they are in desperate need across the country for more volunteers.

To find out how you can help, click here.