Free Transportation to Cancer Treatments: American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery® Program

Written by: Liz Orton, Iowa Cancer Consortium

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they may experience a multitude of concerns. Will I be okay? How will I pay for my treatment? Can I take the necessary time off of work for my treatment plan? What side effects will I have? How will this affect my family?

A national program available in Iowa, however, works to ensure that one concern is taken care of: How will I get to treatment?

Patient Information

The American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Road to Recovery® program provides free rides for cancer patients to and from their treatment related appointments. Individuals undergoing cancer treatment just need to call 1-800-227-2345 a few days prior to their appointment to coordinate their ride, according to availability.

There are many reasons that someone might need a ride through the Road to Recovery program. Whether it’s lack of access to a reliable vehicle, inability to afford the cost of gas, feeling tired or nauseous after treatment, or having a scheduling conflict with the person who usually drives them – there’s no right or wrong reason to use Road to Recovery!

Program Information

More than 9.5 million free rides to treatment and related appointments have been provided through Road To Recovery and other transportation programs.  In 2023, over 4,000 cancer patients received more than 47,000 rides.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa’s Road to Recovery program was forced to temporarily shut down for health and safety reasons. Thankfully, the program returned in 2022. But more volunteers and patients are needed to bring the program back to pre-pandemic numbers, says Jodi Federspiel, Associate Director of Community Implementation with the American Cancer Society. “The program is still coming back post-COVID. We continue to work on recruitment efforts as well as patient referrals.”

Prior to the COVID shutdown, Road to Recovery had about 150 volunteer drivers in Iowa (Iowa News Now, 2018). With 65 volunteer drivers currently, that’s only 43% of where they were pre-pandemic.

Volunteer Information

In Iowa, Road to Recovery is made possible by a host of volunteers – currently about 65 statewide – who set their own volunteer schedules.

Most patients requesting rides reside in the state’s metro areas of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and the Quad Cities, says Federspiel. 

To become a volunteer driver for Road to Recovery, you’ll need to be 18-84 years old and have the following:

  • A personal vehicle
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Proof of auto insurance

After you apply, an American Cancer Society representative will give you more information and answer any questions that you have. You will then complete a background check and a self-paced online training that takes about an hour to complete. After that, you’re ready to start helping your neighbors who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access the life-saving care they need!

To learn more about Road to Recovery, visit or call 800-227-2345. 

Additional Resources

Interested in transportation and access to cancer care in Iowa? Read more from the Iowa Cancer Consortium: