Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Service Project: I will be an ambassador that will ensure cancer patients around my home have timely access to the treatment they require.

Driving Cancer patients
There has been remarkable progress in the fight against cancer that has seen many cancer care centres that are fully equipped being set up in different areas of the United States. There have also been advances in the medical field that have led to reduced costs of cancer care and enhanced cancer equipment that has made it easy and faster to detect, treat and manage cancer.
Despite these developments, cancer is still a big burden to the society and is the cause of many deaths and suffering among many patients. According to Cancer facts and figures report of 2015, about 589,430 Americans are expected to die of cancer, or about 1,620 people per day in 2015 alone (Breast Carcinoma In Situ and American Cancer Society).  Sadly, some of the deaths cases could be prevented if the patients received effective treatment in good time.
There are many known barriers inhibiting patients from effective cancer treatment. Whereas some like patients believes, lack of proper funding due to underinsurance or lack if it may not have immediate solutions, others like inability to access treatment centres can be addressed almost instantly.
Much research work has been conducted around cancer patients’ experiences of transport and travelling for treatment but very little has been done to get solutions around the difficulties in transportation. According to the American Cancer Society, access to transportation is one of the barriers to effective cancer treatment and management. Similarly, studies have shown that transportation is indeed a barrier to some cancer patients especially those from minority groups and those located far away from the facilities with the required equipment (Guidry, Aday and Zhang). According to Guidry et al, availability and affordability of transport were the two main issues that needed to be tackled in order for cancer patients to access the cancer care facilities for their specific requirements.
Many of the Cancer patients cited transportation to and from treatment as a critical need second to financial assistance. To bridge this gap, the American Cancer Society launched a program called Road to Recovery that enlists the services of trained drivers to work as volunteers to drive cancer patients to and from treatment centres.
From my experience as a young boy who encountered first-hand experience, cancer patients need to be cared for not only by the State but also by everyone with ability to do so. As such, I would like to be a volunteer driver transporting patients living around Boulevard to their life saving treatment centres.
My desire to contribute towards alleviating the suffering of cancer patients started when I was just 20 years. At that time, my family and I lived in the suburbs in Florida where the nearest cancer facility was about 20 miles away. That was also the time when I met with the harsh reality of the suffering occasioned by cancer. My friend’s mother who was also our immediate neighbour was on long term treatment of cervical cancer that had been diagnosed about five years earlier. She was a single parent with no medical insurance cover and a stable job, as such; much of the little that she earned was spent on hospital visits and drugs.
 I can remember the suffering she went through as if the events happened recently. I can remember when she got bed ridden with no one to care for her other than her seven year old son. She became completely unable to support herself let alone to walk a couple of miles to catch public transport to the facility for treatment. Her situation worsened so fast that within two or three days, she was taken into a coma. My parents together with the local authorities tried to find a way out, to ensure she gets to her hospital but finding means was a bit difficult. It took about five hours to get one but it was too late. She was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Hospital.
This experience turned me into a social being. To always be grateful for my healthy condition and to do all it takes to assist those who are terminally ill. It pushed me towards alleviating pains from cancer patients. As a student, I plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in medicine to arm myself with life saving knowledge to achieve my ambition. I will be an ambassador that will ensure cancer patients around my home have timely access to the treatment they require.
In the mean time, I intend to use my driving license that I acquired two years ago to apply for a position of a volunteer driver with American Cancer Society’s Road to recovery program during holidays. I started driving at 16 and I also have a car that my parents bought for me to use as my means of transport to and from College. It is ideal for the job as it is in a very good condition and is fully insured.