This Man Left Wall Street to Start a Ride Service for Chemotherapy Patients
By Amanda Froelich Truth Theory
Rarely do people change unless situations force them to. One example of this might be a person with Arthritis who learns nightshade plants (tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers) exacerbate their condition, so they omit them from their diet. Or, an obese person learns they have Type II diabetes; as a result, they begin exercising and eat only whole, plant-based foods.
Though waiting until one is forced to change isn’t the most intelligent way to live life, it’s part of the human condition. In effect, we can all empathize with it. Not long ago, 35-year-old Zach Bolster was forced to change his life, as well. However, the way he transformed — and what he created as a result — is quite unconventional.
In a matter of months, Bolster went from living the good life in New York City, working as the vice president of a Wall Street hedge fund, to creating and running a non-profit in a small town near Charlotte, North Carolina. His then fiancé, Patricia, had a successful career in real-estate.
People reports that the change was inspired by his mom, Gloria, who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Bolster explained, “I was in New York living my life and we were both intensely focused on our careers, but we were really happy. But then my mom got diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and we dropped everything and moved in with my mom. We were all focusing on getting my mom better.”
Initially, Gloria thought in her shoulder was a pulled muscle. However, it was later learned that the cancer had returned. Understandably, the family was devastated. After all, Gloria beat breast cancer in 2001, only to have it return.
Sadly, it was only six weeks before she passed. “It was really quick,” said Bolster. “My first week in town with her we went on a two-mile walk – went for a kayak ride – that was the last good day that she had.”
Bolster says his mom was the “glue” that kept their family together. “She spent her life helping everyone. She had an important career, she was an athlete… but she was always the one helping all of us,” he said
When Gloria was alive, Zach, Patricia and other family members went with her to every chemotherapy treatment. That’s how they they learned other patients often have a tough time getting to their appointments.
“My family was shocked by how many cancer patients had difficulty getting to their chemotherapy treatments,” said Bolster. “We soon realized what a huge financial and family burden transportation during cancer treatments can be. Some patients resorted to riding the bus, others, unfortunately, missed their treatment altogether.”
Wanting to help, Bolster started volunteering to drive patients to their treatments. He soon learned this wasn’t the best system, however. Patients had to request their rides days in advance, and a lot of time was wasted. To remedy the shortcomings of his ambitions to be helpful, he decided to found a non-profit that could meet the needs of chemotherapy patients.
Using their own money, Zach and his now wife, Patricia, started ChemoCars. The non-profit uses software that integrates with Uber and Lyft to get cancer patients safe, on-demand rides to and from their treatments. People reports that they work with treatment centers to identify patients that might need transportation. Additionally, ChemoCars monitors all of the rides to ensure people get there and back safely. In the eight months since ChemoCars was founded, the good Samaritans have given away more than 2,000 free rides.
As you might expect, patients are extraordinary grateful for the service. Said Patricia Curry, 58, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year: “He is such an extraordinary man, such a sweet guy. There have been a couple of times where I haven’t been feeling well and I forget to call for a ride and he’ll check in and call to see if I need a car.”
Having worked on Wall Street, Bolster has a mind for business. This is why he plans to expand the non-profit nationwide to help more people. We at Truth Theory applaud the initiative.
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Image Credit: Kate Kmetzsc