Program helps cancer patients find transportation

- Christopher Milton, a DeKalb County Police SWAT officer turned life coach, has found a new mission these days, driving cancer patients to and from their medical appointments.

"Today we're going to go see Miss Velma Dunn," Milton says. "I have been diagnosed with breast cancer," Velma Dunn explains.

This is really Velma Dunn's third cancer fight. Round 1, with colon cancer, took her husband. 

Round 2, also with colon cancer, claimed her daughter.

"My husband, I lost him in 2004, and I was his caregiver," Dunn says, her voice choked with emotion.  "My daughter, I lost her in 2007."

"I've learned that life can hit you out of the blue," Christopher Milton says.  "The patients that I've had a chance to interact with, it hit them, cancer hit them, and now they're in need of support."

To help, Milton volunteers with the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery Program, giving patients like Dunn with a free ride to and from their cancer-related medical appointments.

"Every time I come pick her up, she's always thanking me, from the time I pick her up to the time I drop her off at her appointment," Milton says.

"I didn't really trust myself with driving, back and forth," Dunn says.  "It makes it so much easier, and some much (more) convenient."

Christopher Milton has been volunteering since November of 2017.

On this day, he's giving Velma a ride to DeKalb Medical Center's Cancer Center, where she's undergoing treatment. 

This is their third trip together, and they connected right out of the gate.

"When he came, he got out of the car, opened the door on the other side for me, and I got in," Dunn remembers.  "From there, it's like we've been friends for all of our lives. He just went to talking and asking questions.  Encouraging me."

Milton, who says he want to be "an encourager," says he's learned so much from Dunn and the other two patients he's driven.

"Miss Dunn, she has been an inspiration to me," he says.  "Actually. on our ride over here, I was just telling her, I just see her as a warrior. Just because she's been through so much, and has that will to not give up."

"He said, 'Ms. Dunn, you can do this,' Velma Dunn says.  "So, I started feeling like I can do this."

And when Velma's visit is over, Christopher Milton's SUV is waiting. 

The life coach wants to make sure his favorite cancer warrior gets home safely.

If you know a cancer patient who needs transportation, call the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program at 1-800-227-2345.

To qualify, patients must be traveling to a cancer-related medical appointment and meet certain eligibility requirements.

If you'd like to learn more about becoming a volunteer driver, visit https://www.cancer.org/involved/volunteer/road-to-recovery.html.

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