The value of a volunteer’s time is an estimated $23.56 per hour nationwide, according to Independent Sector.But to Lilburn resident Lauren Bingham, the value of a volunteer’s time can be summed up in something even more valuable: a life saved.
The 51-year-old single mother of five was diagnosed last July with breast cancer. Widowed for 10 years, Bingham lost her own mother to the same disease in the late 1980s. Bingham was prepared for the fight, but found her largest hurdle was not having transportation to get to her lifesaving treatment.
“I don’t have a car, and I couldn’t always rely on friends and neighbors to take me to treatment”, says Bingham, who had surgery and needed four rounds of chemotherapy and 28 rounds of radiation.
Stepping in to help was 62-year-old retiree Hilvan Finch, also from Lilburn. An American Cancer Society Road To Recovery volunteer driver since April 2015, Finch provided 273 rides last year to patients seeking treatment for a total of 477 lifetime trips.
Finch, who attributes his background in sales to help guide his conversations with cancer patients, says he takes his lead from them. “If they want to talk, Im a great listener and I can provide support”, he says. “But I don’t ask or pry”.
“Each one of us has to do what we can to help others”, says Finch, who is humble and soft-spoken and rarely travels without his golden doodle Charlie. “It’s the rent we pay for being here on Earth.”
“I am eternally grateful to Hilvan and all my drivers”, Bingham says. “I don’t know how I would have managed without them”.
To learn more about the Road To Recovery program or to become a volunteer, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.
In this picture:Lauren Bingham & Hilvan Finch