Last updated: February 19. 2013 2:20PM - 460 Views

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Delores Messarosh knows her way around Scranton.

The lifelong West Side resident grew up in the 1400 block of Bryn Mawr Street, and remembers riding the trolley downtown to go dancing with friends.

If we missed the last streetcar, we would just walk back, Messarosh, 89, said during a recent interview at the North Sumnner Avenue apartment she has called home for the past 43 years.

After giving up driving nearly 20 years ago, Messarosh had no problem getting around the Electric City on public transit, just as she had in her youth.

I'm very independent, I'll tell you, she said. If there's a bus going there, I'll take a bus.

That is exactly how Messarosh got to and from radiation treatments at Mercy Hospital when first fighting breast cancer eight years ago. It was a battle she hoped she had fought and won.

Four months ago, she learned otherwise. Cancer had returned, in the other breast. And now the treatment center she needed to visit was Northeast Radiation Oncology Centers in Dunmore, a healthy half-mile walk from the nearest bus stop.

I walk, honey, she exclaimed. But facing treatment five days a week for more than a month, even the indomitable Messarosh wondered if she would have the stamina to make the crosstown trip, complete with walking and transfers, on her own.

A social worker at NROC recommended Messarosh for the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program, which matches patients with volunteer drivers.

It takes me for a loop, she said of the radiation therapy.

Because there is no shortage of area residents facing cancer, ACS is continuously seeking more people willing to transport them to and from medical appointments.

We're always in need of drivers said Jill Giomboni, Health Initiatives Representative with the local ACS office in Taylor.

From Sept. 1, 2011 through Aug. 31, 2012, the local ACS office provided 1,692 rides to 55 Lackawanna County patients, Giomboni said, and currently has 22 drivers.

Patients interested in the service can learn more through their medical providers or through ACS, while prospective drivers should call ACS at 562.9749.

Drivers need a valid Pennsylvania driver's license, automobile insurance, a clear background and driver check. Orientation is provided, and volunteer assignments are flexible. Transportation is needed during the daytime hours during the week, Monday through Friday. Volunteers can drive their own vehicles or the American Cancer Society van, where available. While the patients are from Lackawanna County, some of their appointments may be in neighboring counties.

Messarosh, who was scheduled to attend her last treatment earlier this month, found that the service – and drivers -- proved a good fit.

Ken is a doll, she said of Dunmore resident and volunteer driver Ken Quigley, one of the drivers who transported her during her treatments.

I am learning a lot from these people, said Quigley, a semi-retired social worker. I get my strength from the people that I drive.

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