Volunteers drive cancer centers
Tim Whittington said he's been volunteering as a driver for the Leah M. Fitch Cancer Center about five months. He said it's something he's wanted to do for the last several years. He gets attached to the patients.
"I'm handicapped. I had a bad motorcycle accident back in '01," Whittington said. "I have a bad leg, can't stand a long time, can't walk a long time, but I can drive. So I wanted to do something like this. It's very rewarding. I really like it."
Whittington is one of about 15 volunteer drivers who pick patients up from their home and transport them to the cancer center for treatment. When their treatments are completed, they also get a free ride back home.
One of the patients who lives in Carnegie told Whittington she used to always get sleepy on her way to the cancer center and back home. "But she laughed so much with me that she really felt good," he said. "I can make people laugh all the time and that's what I do, and I enjoy it. I joke around with them."
Whittington said he tells people that if he had cancer, he thinks he would be bitter. "But these people are not," he said. "They are in a good mood. They are laughing. They are joking. They are talking. I just come out and I'm myself. They laugh and joke and talk to me."
Whittington said he gets so attached that he even introduced one patient to his wife. He volunteers anywhere from 4-9 hours a day, one day a week. When Siggi Sloniker, volunteer driver coordinator for the cancer center, calls Whittington on other days, he helps out when he can.