However, the 80-year-old retired furniture storeowner learned to move forward with his life. In doing so, he joined the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program, in which volunteers drive cancer patients who have no means of transportation or are too ill to drive to get treatments.
"I know what they're going through and just thought that I would volunteer for it," said Rogers, who began volunteering in 2009.
The nationwide program, established in 1983, is an urgent need of more volunteer drivers in Cobb County.
According to the American Cancer Society, an average of 2,202 residents are diagnosed with cancer in Cobb each year. Consequently, an estimated 600 patients will be in need of transportation in 2011.
There are just four volunteer drivers for the entire county, said Kanika Whipple, American Cancer Society mission delivery manager. She said the program is seeking at least 20 drivers.
"Currently, the Road to Recovery program is faced with the classic supply/demand problem - how to satisfy increasing demand for services with a fixed or decreasing supply of volunteers," said Whipple, who works in Cobb, Cherokee, Pickens, Douglas and Paulding counties. "So, the need is very great. It continues to be one of the most requested program services that we have in our area. You would be surprised at how many people do not have the means to get to something as important as their cancer treatments. The Society anticipates demand continuing to grow due to the aging Baby Boomer population."
Free training is provided for those who volunteer with the Road to Recovery program. Requirements include a good driving record, a valid driver's license, auto insurance and a vehicle in good working condition. Background checks are performed on all drivers.
The program provides transportation for doctors' appointments and treatment sessions only. Volunteers determine how often they want to participate and the distance they're willing to travel.
Rogers said he volunteers transporting patients between two to three days per week.
"I enjoy taking them. I meet new people," he said. "I'm just glad that I can help somebody."
Fran Jackson of west Cobb is a long-time Road to Recovery volunteer.
"It fulfills a need for people that have no family and no friends. They have nobody to take them to some of these appointments," said Jackson, 58, a homemaker. "When you have cancer, you don't go to just an oncologist. You have a lot of other issues."
After regularly spending time with patients, it can become easy to grow attached to them, Jackson said. In 2009, Jackson experienced just that when she lost a 57-year-old patient to brain cancer. She had driven her for nearly two years.
"I missed being with her when she passed by five minutes," Jackson vividly remembered, her voice quivering. "I was 10 minutes away from the hospice. I hadn't been in the car for five minutes when they called and told me she had died."
Overall, Jackson said the benefits of participating in Road to Recovery are more than worth her time driving patients twice a week.
"It doesn't have to take up a lot of time," she said. "I would just like people to understand that you can make a big difference in somebody's life.
For more information on becoming a Road to Recovery volunteer, call Whipple at (770) 429-0089 or e-mail email@example.com.