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Your Views: Volunteer driver among many who provide support to cancer patients

POSTED: May 16, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Thank you to Sue Sigmon-Nosach, who volunteers to provide transportation to cancer patients in the Gainesville area after her own treatment for ovarian cancer in 2004 (“Driver of Love: Cancer Survivor gives rides to patients, says volunteers are needed,” May 14 article).

I especially appreciate her sacrifice because I am beginning radiation treatment for breast cancer following five months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and the beginnings of breast reconstruction. Fortunately, I am able to drive and I have a reliable car.

As stated in the article, radiation therapy can consist of up to eight weeks of daily treatments. I will have 33 treatments for five days a week. Many who are battling cancer may not begin or complete therapy because they do not have the means to get to treatments.

When I was taking chemotherapy treatments, I became aware that many patients drove from rural areas into Gainesville for cancer services. Many patients are advised not to drive themselves to chemotherapy because of possible drowsiness or nausea following treatment. Transportation cannot always be provided by family members and friends for various reasons, including work requirements. So transportation services are often needed for chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

I would like to add that those of us who are members of the Gainesville community are so fortunate to have the Northeast Georgia Medical Center oncology services and to have skilled and caring doctors and staff members. I am also so appreciative to the staff members in general practice, chemotherapy, surgery, plastic surgery and radiation who have earned my trust and admiration. In addition, the American Cancer Society in Gainesville provides breast patient navigators who coordinate services, provide information and answer questions and who show up frequently in doctor’s offices and at the hospital to give reassurance and gifts like pillows made by other survivors.

There are also cosmetology volunteers in Gainesville who help breast cancer patients with wigs and scarves, makeup and clothing advice to help us feel better about ourselves.

Frequently since my diagnosis, I have made the comment to family and friends that if cancer had to be part of my life journey, thank goodness I am living in Gainesville with terrific doctors, dedicated staff members, excellent facilities, and committed volunteers like Sue Sigmon-Nosach.

Laurie A. Hyatt, Ph.D
Gainesville


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