‘Not Enough Thanks to Go Around’ for Angel Wheels

By Taylor Allen, Intern, Virginia Wesleyan College

It started as any regular doctor’s appointment for Ruben A., of Sullivan County, New York. “I told my doctor that I was having a lot of discomfort in doing normal day- to-day activities,” said Ruben, 68. After he explained his problem, his doctor did a PSA test. The test measures the blood level of the PSA, a protein produced by a man’s prostate. The higher the PSA, the more likely it is he has cancer. At the time of his appointment, Ruben’s PSA was about a 5, which is slightly high.

At this point his doctor recommended he get a biopsy and referred him to a specialist in Middletown, New York, about 60 miles away from his house. When Ruben got the results back, he was faced with a harsh reality—he had prostate cancer. This doctor referred him to the Orange Regional Medical Center’s Radiation Oncology Center for radiation treatments. Ruben was now faced with a dilemma. “I live on a fixed income,” he explained. “I could not afford to drive back and forth, 120 miles a day, in order to receive treatment. So I asked the Orange Regional Medical Center for options on how to help, and they led me to Angel Wheels.”

When Ruben was researching the different transportation options, he said he contacted many of them, but either they couldn’t help or didn’t return his calls. “I spoke with Jim Smith, and Angel Wheels seemed like a godsend. I cannot remember the exact number, but Angel Wheels provided me with at least four gas cards to get back and forth to my treatments.”

After a trying two months of treatments, Ruben is happy to say that all of the discomfort that he experienced is now gone. “After losing my mom last month, I am extremely blessed to have found such kind, helping people. I feel much, much better, as if nothing is bothering me at all. I feel like I did before the prostate cancer.”

Married and with two grown sons, Ruben formerly worked in the commodities market as a trade reporter on Wall Street. He said he is a survivor of the 9-11 terrorist attack. After the first plane crashed into the tower, Ruben, who worked in Building 4, said, “I got up, took my bag, and started walking immediately. I was walking on Broadway when I saw the second plane come in. I saw a lot of horrible things. It’s with me every day.”

At the time Ruben started radiation, his PSA had risen to a 9.3, which is unusually high. On March 26, the time of his last visit to the Orange Regional Medical Center, his PSA was at a 1.4. “This has been quite an experience, and I am so thankful for Jim Smith and everyone at Angel Wheels. The name, Angel Wheels, really fits the services you provide, and there is not enough thanks to go around.”

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