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Helping cancer patients brings smile to face of volunteer driver

Denver7 Everyday Hero Kayleen Fraley.png
Posted at 10:15 PM, Jul 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 12:48:37-04

LOVELAND, Colo. — Kayleen Fraley spends a lot of time in her car going to and from medical appointments.

They’re not her appointments, but rather appointments of cancer patients she helps transport as a volunteer in the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program.

“It's a really rewarding, valuable thing and a great way to spend your time getting to know other people,” Fraley said of the work, which she started before the pandemic. “I've met some really wonderful, dear people who are just going through hard times.”

For most cancer patients, figuring out how to get to and from appointments can be almost as tough as the treatments themselves. When they are diagnosed, patients suddenly find themselves facing a whole new medical life on top of their already stressful life.

Fraley has one patient she transports who now has six weeks of daily appointments he must get to, and the daily grind of driving is something that is easier for her to do than the patient.

“It's a good 15-minute drive to get to his appointment, and it only lasts 10 minutes, and then he can go back home. But if he misses out, that's a huge interruption in his care,” she said.

“To have someone take this one thing off your plate, to make sure that you can do what you need to do is really an incredible gift,” said Kelly Moran, executive director of the American Cancer Society.

Moran said there is always a need for more volunteer drivers now that the Road to Recovery program has emerged from its pandemic-era hiatus.

“This year alone in Colorado, we know about 20,500 people will be diagnosed with cancer. That's a lot of cancer treatments that are going to be needed,” she said. “We rely on volunteers. We simply wouldn't have a program without them. They're not staff members out here taking people to treatment. It is all volunteers.”

Fraley knows what she is doing is providing an invaluable service to the cancer patients who get in and out of her car every week. What she gets out of it is friendship and a chance to share her own stories with those who are willing to share their stories with her during their drives.

I just think I can, hopefully, be a little bright spot in their day,” Fraley said.

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