Campus FAQ's: Virtual Survivor Programs

Do you Relay for a Survivor who cannot make it to your event because of health, distance, or other constraints? Did you know they can still participate in your event as a Virtual Survivor? Download the Virtual Survivor Sheet to share with your event!

What is a Virtual Survivor?

A Virtual Survivor is a person that has been diagnosed with cancer but cannot physically attend a Relay For Life event  due to distance, time, illness, or any other constraint. These are the people in our lives that we CELEBRATE at Relay For Life, whether or not they can be with us at the event.

How does it work? 

If you have a loved one who is unable to join us at the Relay For Life Opening Ceremony, you can still pay tribute to them by walking in their place.  By creating an 8.5x11 poster, you can honor them throughout the night.  In addition to carrying this poster, you can honor them by decorating the back of your event t-shirt.

Why Should I Participate?

Relay is all about Celebrating Survivorship.  We all Relay for someone special and the Virtual Survivor program allows you to CELEBRATE the life of your loved one when they can’t be with you at Relay.  Have your Survivor register at www.RelayForLife.org/ (your event name) as a Survivor.

If your Survivor does not have an email address but would like to sign up for an event, there is an easy process to get them registered, without having scan a form. They can call the National Cancer Information Center (NCIC) at 1-800-227-2345 option 2 and tell the Income Support Specialist (ISS) that they would like to register as a survivor for an event, but that they don’t have an email to use or wish to share. A NCIC representative will ask them a few questions to understand the level at which they’d like to participant and register them. They will also explain how to update their registration if they want to actively fundraise online or update their personal fundraising page, which will require an email.

Campus FAQS: Road to Recovery

Last month we celebrated driver recruitment month, and we've all been hearing a lot about the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program. Driving patients to treatment is an incredible, life-saving opportunity; but what's it really like? The National Campus Leadership Team did Q&A's with real college drivers to get you the low down on time management, qualifications, and how this program works.

Question 1: Why is Road to Recovery important?

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Even the best treatment can’t work if a patient can’t get there. Family and friends may be able to help, but over the course of several months, they may not have the time or financial means to provide every ride. That’s why a successful transportation assistance program can be a tremendous, potentially life-saving asset to the community.

Question 2: What will I get out of this?

First and foremost, the fulfillment of knowing that you made treatment possible for a patient who really needs it and have truly become their hero. But if that’s not enough, volunteering with Roads looks fantastic on a resume or grad school application. Hours spent assisting and talking to patients can count as clinical experience for anyone looking to go into healthcare-related fields, or as general community service/volunteer positions for students looking to make an extra impressive impression.

Question 3: I'm a busy college kid; how would I even fit this into my schedule?

Road to Recovery understands that life can be busy; that’s why it’s amazing that this program is so flexible! There is no minimum time commitment, so you can drive patients as frequently as you’d like, at your convenience. Make a quick trip to drop a patient off in between classes, on your day off, or during holiday breaks. Appointments are even separated into two distinct segments, pickup and drop-off, so you can split driving duties with another Road driver for appointments when you’re short on time.

Question 4: How do I know if I am qualified?

Do you have access to a vehicle, have insurance, and possess a valid driver’s license with a good driving record? Then YES, you’re all set to start training!

Question 5: How much training is involved?

It’s super easy. You’ll watch a 15-minute new driver orientation video, and then a 45-minute interactive online training module. You’ll also submit the information necessary for a preliminary background check. The entire process takes about an hour, and can be done in the comfort of your dorm room while eating ramen.

Question 6: How can I get connected with patients?

When you sign up to drive, you’ll build out your online volunteer profile. The profile will ask you to input time and location preferences, so the system will know when you’re free and how far you’re willing to drive. When a patient calls the American Cancer Society needing ride assistance, staff will match the ride request to a local driver’s profile that matches the availability criteria. The driver will receive a ride opportunity notification, which they are free to accept or decline on a case-by-case basis. If accepted, the driver will receive the patient’s contact information, and will reach out to them for an appointment confirmation a few days before the scheduled drive. After the drive is completed, the driver will indicate that the ride was fulfilled on their volunteer profile!

Question 7: How should I interact with patients? I'm nervous!

No need to be nervous! Every patient is different, but the Road to Recovery online orientation and training will walk you through how to handle a variety of situations. Most patients are extremely friendly and appreciative, and excited to meet you! If you’re nervous or uncomfortable, you can always bring a friend to ride along.

Question 8: What should I do while my patient is in their appointment?

Again, this may be different for every patient and what type of treatment they are receiving. An appointment may last anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple hours, and some patients may welcome you to keep them company during treatment. But the vast majority will give you a call or text when they’re ready to be picked up, so you can head home for lunch or study at the nearest Starbucks in the meantime!

Question 9: I think I'm really interested and ready to volunteer! How can I get started?

You can get started here!

Still have more questions? Leave us your comments below, contact the National Campus Leadership Team here, or email Kelly O'Donnel at odonkel@umich.edu.