This is a story about a small group of residents of Sierra County, NM, who got together and decided to provide transportation to our local residents for doctor appointments related to Cancer. We live in a county of approximately 10,000 and started our journey in May, 2009. There is no cancer center in our area and those with cancer have to drive to Las Cruces, 75 miles south, or Albuquerque, 150 miles north. We talked about our name, how we would get the money to pay for gas expenses, insurance, getting volunteer drivers, and how to get the word out.
October 4, 2009 we have our name, our 50l (c) 3 status, created documents, appointed a Chair, Co-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, a Patient/Driver Coordinator, established a Board of Directors, and NOW how to fund our volunteer drivers. We had a large fund raiser here in the county and raised enough money to get started. We put advertising in the paper, passed out flyers, spoke to local service organizations, and finally in March of 2010 had our first cancer patient. The board members did the driving for awhile, establishing a routine of how to handle volunteers, and how to attract them.
Because of our local fund raisers over the years, and private donations, we were able to purchase a used car to help those that are volunteers have transportation. We pay our drivers gas money for their trips to Las Cruces or Albuquerque. The driver can be a family member, close friend, or someone that just wants to help and be there. We celebrate our 7th year, October 2016, and this could not have happened without our volunteers, local residents, service clubs and businesses supporting us all the way. We are currently sending out letters to sponsors, asking for a donation to keep us going for another year with all monies received staying in Sierra County.
Our 100% volunteer organization has been able to provide transportation for over 150 cancer patients, made over 2,800 round trips to either Las Cruces, or Albuquerque, traveled almost 500,000 miles and have about 20 volunteers that have been with us all the way. The average amount spent on gas in one year is about $35,000 and raising each year.
Our volunteers could have to drive daily, taking a radiation patient, for as many as 6 weeks, stay with chemo patients while they are receiving their chemo, go for follow-ups, MRI’s, and possibly call them to see how they are feeling. You can tell we have the best, but want to keep going for years to come. Our ultimate goal would be to have a Cancer Center here in Truth or preferably… have a cure for Cancer.
Our Service is Free
Our Volunteers Dedicated
Our Mission is simple … Care, Share, and Give Back
Chair and Patient/Driver Coordinator