Roger Yu

Photo from Roger Yu

Photo from Roger Yu

When Roger Yu’s wife, Carole Goodson, was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, both were “plunged instantly into a new and unexpected challenge.”

Fortunately, Goodson’s outcome was good.

The whole ordeal was a time of learning for Yu, and it opened his eyes to the challenges and struggles patients and their families have to face.

“I didn’t know that there was this situation with getting to appointments, and it’s very difficult sometimes to do,” says Yu, who owns Goodson+Yu Designers and Planners with his wife.

He got an inside look into the world of doctor’s appointments, many waiting rooms and seeing fellow patients and medical professionals battling the disease.

He started volunteering with American Cancer Society (ACS) as a driver about a year ago, after picking up a brochure in a waiting room while Goodson was at an oncology appointment.

The pamphlet, titled “Road to Recovery,” detailed the organization’s driving program.

Volunteer drivers offer up their time and vehicles to transport patients to and from treatments and appointments. “It described a way of volunteering and giving back that seemed to suit my temperament and day-to-day-schedule,” Yu says.

He made a call to ACS and was put in touch with coordinator Christine Hinds. “It just seemed to fit my lifestyle,” he adds. “I realized that there are so many people who are needy this way.”

Last year, hundreds of patients benefited from ACS Road to Recovery volunteers, but many requests went unfilled.

The organization needs at least 10 more drivers for the Honolulu area and six drivers for Leeward Oahu.

“Most rewarding to me are the rides I give to Neighbor Island patients. In the best of circumstances, traveling to Oahu from an outer island is a costly and time-consuming proposition,” says 62-year-old Yu. “For a patient who is suffering from the symptoms and worry of cancer, it can be an ordeal that is both physically and mentally trying.”

Whenever he volunteers, Yu offers up words of encouragement to patients and their families.

“It’s not much that I do,” he admits, “transporting one patient to one appointment at a time, but I know from firsthand experience that even a small thing can help smooth the way through what is always a long, arduous journey.”