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AROUND THE BEND: Good news comes from veteran driver, cancer survivor Terry Davis

Terry and Clarence Davis are holding a fund raiser for Pluta Cancer Center in Rochester, N.Y., where Terry was successfully treated for cancer. They’re donating a penny for every mile they’re dispatched to run this month and are challenging truckers to sponsor them an amount per mile or an amount per load, or just to make a one-time donation. (Courtesy: TERRY DAVIS)

By DOROTHY COX
The Trucker Staff

5/25/2011

We heard from veteran, over-the-road driver Terry Davis, the other day and she said she enjoys reading “good news.”

Well, we enjoy reporting it, and Terry and her husband, Clarence, just happened to be the subject of some good news that we would like to share: Terry was diagnosed with cancer last February and not only is she cancer free, but she and Clarence are holding a fund raiser for Pluta Cancer Center in Rochester, N.Y., where she was successfully treated.

They’re donating a penny for every mile they’re dispatched to run this month and are challenging truckers to sponsor them an amount per mile or an amount per load, or just to make a one-time donation.

Money raised during the event will help Pluta Cancer Center offer free services such as massages, dietician-led consultations, healthy cooking seminars, tai chi, and “gentle yoga” classes to cancer patients.

Pledge support and follow their progress at www.truckinforpluta.blogspot.com.

An over-the-road driver since the ’80s, Terry was sidelined by cancer for nine months. After she got the “all clear” last September that she was cancer free, she joined the YMCA in her home town of Rochester to pursue strength training and other exercises so she could pass her physical to go back on the road in November — which she did.

“It was a matter of getting strong enough to lift 50 pounds and drive the 11 hours a day, 70 hours a week,” she said. “They don’t have any light duty for OTR drivers.”

While driving she still tries to walk some each day and uses resistance bands “but it’s not like the Y,” she said.

She and her husband drive for YRC Glen Moore and both are million mile safe drivers. When we talked with her she was hauling dry van freight through the country’s heartland.

Terry also related that before she knew she had cancer she drove in the 2009 “Convoy For A Cure” on behalf of her friend Karen Imazaki, who she lost to breast cancer a year ago this month.

“I read about it in your column,” she said of the all-female truck convoy to benefit breast cancer research. “I guess it was destiny that I got a source of strength I never knew I’d need.”

She and Clarence got married in 2009 and she credits him with helping her through the most difficult parts of her chemo and radiation treatments. She also praised YRC Glen Moore for letting him off whenever he needed to take her to the doctor.

The couple met via CB after passing each other on the Indiana toll road one day in 1995. She had just bought a bass guitar and had a set of drums and when she found out he played the bass she asked for a lesson. They stopped at the next truck stop and he supplied the lesson and they became friends, then later a couple, and finally got married.

As to the idea for the fund-raiser, Terry said she’s not the greatest cook in the world so a bake sale was out of the question and she didn’t know how to organize something else. “The only thing I’m good at is driving,” she said, so they decided on the driving fund raiser.

“When you first walk into the Pluta Cancer Center,” she said, “it looks like a hotel lobby with a fireplace, art work, a coffee pot and tea and the front desk people were so nice.” Rather than being a name and a number, as is often the case,“There was always a good atmosphere there, a compassionate atmosphere,” she said of why she wants to give back to the facility.

Terry, 52, said she had no risk factors for the type of cancer she had, anal cancer, and knew little about it. It was discovered during a routine colonoscopy. “Get the screening,” she urges fellow drivers.

Dorothy Cox of The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at dlcox@thetrucker.com.

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