“You have cancer.”
These are the three words a person never wants to hear, and when it happens, it’s absolutely earth-shattering. Suddenly, nothing else matters but fighting the disease and hoping to reach the point of remission.
Zach Bolster knows this all too well. Over a decade ago, his mother Gloria was diagnosed with breast cancer. She managed to beat the disease, but in 2016 tragedy struck a second time. This time, his mother was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Zach, engaged and living in New York City, was working as a vice president of a hedge fund company. He was young and successful, but his mother’s illness changed his focus. Upon learning the news, he dropped everything to be with her, which included spending time together and taking her to chemotherapy appointments, along with his father and sister.
It was during this short season that Gloria’s family realized just how many cancer patients struggled to find transportation to their chemotherapy sessions. Gloria, always surrounded by loved ones, was an exception.
Zach tells Babble”
“During the course of her treatment, we became keenly aware that many cancer patients didn’t have friends or family who were available to help with transportation. This forced patients to drive themselves to chemotherapy, which can be dangerous, take the bus, or even miss treatments altogether.”
Thus, the questions arose: What about the others? What about those who had no one?
Sadly, Gloria passed away five weeks after her second cancer diagnosis. It was in his grief that Zach had an idea to provide rides to patients himself, but he soon learned that doing so was time-consuming, hectic, and that he was only one person.
This brought on his second idea, ChemoCars, to hire Lyft and Uber drivers to transport patients in need. With this more streamlined approach, more patients gain access to the medical care they desperately need. And for many patients, prompt chemotherapy is literally matter of life and death.
To date, ChemoCars has provided over 2,000 free rides for cancer patients. Zach tells Babble, “Fighting cancer is hard, we designed ChemoCars to be easy and stress-free.”
The average cost of a ride is $12, and ChemoCars is funded by donations. Zach shares that his goal is to begin providing rides for patients in other cities, too, hopefully as soon as 2018.
Zach’s commitment to cancer patients hits close to home for me. In July, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I spent four solid months in medical hell enduring a double mastectomy and recovery. I had dozens of medical appointments and phone calls, each one causing my anxiety to skyrocket. I was too weak to open painkiller bottles, walk to the bathroom, dress myself, shower, care for my four children, or drive.
As stressful as that experience was for me, it would have been far more difficult had I not had a supportive network of family and friends, stellar medical insurance, and the financial means to travel to and from appointments. A program like Zach’s is helping people get the treatment they need so they can go from cancer fighter to cancer survivor.
Zach shares, “It was heartbreaking, unfair, and infuriating to see firsthand that the less fortunate didn’t have the same chance at life as our mom did during her cancer struggle. Her passing put things into perspective. She had spent her life giving to others and we wanted to build something to make her proud and honor her memory.”
What a beautiful way to do just that.
For information on how you can help ChemoCars, visit their Go Fund Me page to learn more.