The American Cancer Society Visits Rotarians

by Pat Moynahan on July 9, 2015

Rhonda Chisenhall, Senior Market Manager for Community Engagement of the American Cancer Society

Rhonda Chisenhall, Senior Market Manager for Community Engagement of the American Cancer Society

FLORENCE – The “road to recovery” from cancer is literally paved with volunteers.

The Road to Recovery is an American Cancer Society program in which volunteers provide transportation for cancer patients with no other way to get to treatment facilities. Volunteers made almost 1,000 trips for 64 patients in Northern Kentucky alone in a year.

“We couldn’t do a lot of what we do without volunteers,” said Rhonda Chisenhall, senior market manager for community engagement, who led a presentation on the American Cancer Society at the Florence Rotary Club on Monday, June 22.

The presentation provided statistics on the incidence of cancer, recovery prospects and support available. The data indicated one of every two men and one of every three women are likely to develop some form of cancer during their lifetimes.

The American Cancer offers information, support resources and personal assistance to cancer patients. For example, the Cancer Information Center answers more than 8,400 calls in Kentucky annually and more than 375,000 people visit the online cancer resource database.

The Cancer Information Center can connect cancer patients with clinical trials that test new drugs and treatments, as well as provide guidance on health insurance and public and private financial support resources.

“We never want anyone to have to decide whether to pay for treatment or pay the electrical bill,” Chisenhall said.

Local volunteers provide much of the personal support through programs such as Road to Recovery and Reach to Recovery. The Reach to Recovery program offers support for women facing breast cancer from a breast cancer survivor through face-to-face visits and phone calls.

Trained volunteers staff the Cancer Care Center at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood. The volunteers there provide information and answer questions with help from St. Elizabeth clinical staff. The center also supplies free wigs and gift items for patients undergoing treatment.

The American Cancer Society operates Hope Lodge facilities in 31 locations, including Lexington and Cincinnati, where cancer patients and their families can stay for free while undergoing treatment. In some cities, local hotels partner with the American Cancer Society to provide free or reduced-rate accommodations.

The American Cancer Society is the largest private funder of cancer research, Chisenhall noted. The organization has funded $3.9 billion worth of research since 1946.

“The American Cancer Society has played a role in every major research breakthrough in recent history,” she said.