“A breath of fresh air” for this Transportation Services client

By Naomi Schwimmer, Red Cross volunteer

Marianna Hunt uses Red Cross Transportation Services three times a week.
Marianna Hunt, a retired medical transcriptionist, moved to Charlotte in 2005 to be near her son and escape the harsh Michigan winters. Visually impaired due to retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma, Hunt sought the help of the American Red Cross Transportation Program to drive her to the occasional doctor’s appointment.When she was put on dialysis last November, the “occasional” doctor’s appointment turned into three-hour appointments three days a week. Without thinking to ask the Red Cross, Hunt began searching for a way to get to these critical appointments.

Her son, an engineer, was unable to drive her to every appointment. A cab ride to dialysis cost her $40 roundtrip. She had already signed the papers on her condo when she discovered that it wasn’t zoned for the city bus – she would be on “stand-by.” So every Monday, Wednesday and Friday she waited at the bus stop to see if they would take her or not. She thought it was her only option.

“I never knew if I would get a ride to treatment.” Hunt said. “I was really having a hard time.”

Sitting in a medical facility for hours is never pleasant, event for someone like Hunt who worked in a hospital for 18 years. But she was more concerned with how she would get there. Luckily, during one dialysis session, her friend, Betty, mentioned that she was waiting for the Red Cross to pick her up.

“I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!” Hunt said. “I had been so upset about the bus I didn’t think about the Red Cross.”
Now, after using the Red Cross’ transportation service regularly, Hunt says she is grateful for the little things volunteers do to make her experience more pleasant.

“They always carry my bag without asking. And they always come in to get me since they know I can’t see, instead of tooting the horn outside. I really appreciate that,” she said.

After dialysis, patients come home with bandages and tender spots on their arms from the needle sticks.  Sitting on a long, bumpy bus ride with numerous stops is the last thing Hunt wants to do after an appointment. Hunt says the comfort of the Red Cross vehicle makes the whole experience more tolerable.

“After you’ve been sitting for three hours, you just want to get home,” she said. “The Red Cross is a breath of fresh air. Everyone is so helpful and polite. I can’t say enough good things about them.”

You can help people like Marianna by voting for the Red Cross to win free gas!

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