'Road To Recovery' helps cancer patients in time of need

On a routine Tuesday afternoon, two men hit the road in Virginia, on their way to the hospital. The duo had never met before this morning, but the conversation was lively.

ARLINGTON, VA (WUSA9) - On a routine Tuesday afternoon, two men hit the road in Virginia, on their way to the hospital. The duo had never met before this morning, but the conversation was lively. At the wheel was a man named Buddy Hardeman, with an infectious laugh, and an upbeat attitude. In the passenger seat was a man named Ralph Shepperson, reserved, but charismatic. 

"My wife keeps telling me to get a job," laughed Buddy. "I tell her, 'this is my job.' I don't get paid, but it's my job."

The duo was paired up through the "Road To Recovery" program, from the American Cancer Society. Shepperson suffers from prostate cancer, and needs to get radiation treatment once a day. The program helps provide rides for patients like Shepperson, since treatment can be exhausting. 

"I need a driver because physically it wears me out," he said. "And I just can't think clearly enough to drive."

That's why people like Hardeman are a lifesaver. But there's something about this driver that differentiates him from all the others in the program. For two years in 1979 and 1980, he was a Redskins running back. When WUSA9 showed him an old team photo, he started laughing. 

"I was skinny," he laughed. "I had hair too."

But for Shepperson and Hardeman, the football fame fades away when you get to the hospital. In that moment it's just one man helping another man in his time of need. 

"I'm greatly appreciative," said Shepperson. "Because I know it's his time. And he's using that to help me. I think that's wonderful."

The American Cancer Society said that they drastically need drivers. Their main message in making Hardeman available is that you don't need to be a Redskins player to make a difference. For more information,click here.  

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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