Bladder and Breast Cancer Survivor Finds Road To Recovery

The Road To Recovery program is great, but the volunteers were the ones that drove me and gave me hope. So I decided that they took all the worries off my mind because I was so pleased with the treatment, with the volunteers, and with the whole American Cancer Society program.

Judy Halter
survivor, Judy Halter, standing outside her house

The third time Judy Halter heard the words, “You have cancer,” she panicked. “I knew there was a possibility that my time here could definitely be shortened,” she said. But even more than her diagnosis of bladder cancer, Halter says she worried about how she was going to get to treatment.

At age 76, Halter no longer drove more than a few miles away from home for fear of getting lost. But now she was facing a year and a half of treatment at the University of Michigan Cancer Center, about 20 miles away. Although she has a close and supportive family, none of them could take the time off from work that they’d need to get Halter to all her appointments. She called several transportation companies, but most of them had a limit of 10 miles each way.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Halter. “In desperation, I finally called the American Cancer Society. They were absolutely wonderful. In fact, I’m getting goosebumps right now talking about it. They connected me right away with the Road To Recovery® program, which I feel now played a major part in my recovery.”

Through the program, volunteers donate their spare time and use of their personal vehicle to drive cancer patients in their community to treatment appointments. Halter was matched with two drivers who had both been cancer patients themselves.

“They were compassionate, dedicated, and absolutely wonderful,” said Halter. “They made a huge difference. The Road To Recovery program is great, but the volunteers were the ones that drove me and gave me hope. So I decided that they took all the worries off my mind because I was so pleased with the treatment, with the volunteers, and with the whole American Cancer Society program.”

Since she began treatment a year and a half ago, Halter says she has never missed an appointment.

Grateful for treatment

It was back in 1996 when she was in her 50s that Halter had her first experience with cancer. A routine mammogram detected breast cancer in the early stages. She was treated with breast conserving surgery and radiation. Unfortunately, 18 years later, cancer returned in the same breast. She had a mastectomy.

In 2016, Halter was diagnosed with bladder cancer, which doctors said was not related to the breast cancer. She is being treated with immunotherapy and is currently in remission, which means she now has no signs of cancer.

“When I received my third diagnosis I had two choices,” said Halter. “Either sit back and say, ‘Woe is me,’ or try and make a difference while I was here. I decided to spend my time helping others and make this difficult path a little easier. It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to spread the word about dedicated volunteers available through the American Cancer Society. For me that takes the spotlight off of my worries and it makes me feel good that I’m doing something for society.”

Spreading the word

In April, Halter spoke to volunteers for Relay For Life of Livonia, Michigan, and plans to attend the event in June. Relay For Life events are held every year in communities around the world, raising money to invest in research and to provide information and services to cancer patients and caregivers.

Halter also wrote a story about her experiences for her former employer’s website, and shares information about Road To Recovery on social media.

“I just want to spread the word while I’m here to make a difference in someone else’s life like they did in mine. It just warms my heart to think that’s where my priorities are now,” said Halter. “This is my goal for the rest of my life.”

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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