Drive Away Cholangio


It is a fundraising program for the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation that uses ride sharing platforms such as Uber and Lyft as the mechanisms to turn rides into cancer research funds. Our volunteer drivers join the program with the intention of donating 100% of their earnings to meet the commitment of $50 per month for 12 consecutive months.

Volunteers can employ the ride sharing platform of their choice and it doesn’t have to be Uber or Lyft. It usually takes 3-5 hours of driving per month to reach the goal of raising $50. Of course, this depends on the rider demand in your area but drivers soon discover this time commitment is not onerous because they can volunteer on their own schedule. Some volunteer drivers may decide to drive on the way home from work while others may dedicate a few hours to the program over the weekend. It does not matter where volunteers live or what language they speak. They are able to participate as long as a ride sharing program exists in their location and they have access to PayPal.

Our mission is twofold: first, to increase national awareness about the disease; second, to be an engine that generates research funding for The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. We are committed to our mission until we discover a cure that improves the quality of life for those afflicted by cholangiocarcinoma.

andyAndy Macias started Drive Away Cholangio shortly after his wife Sarah passed away from cholangiocarcinoma.

A little bit about Sarah in Andy’s words: “Sarah was brilliant, energetic, and a joy to be around. Sarah was a devoted wife, a wonderful mom, a supportive military spouse and a dedicated federal law enforcement officer. She was extremely well educated – an honors graduate of Northwestern University, and fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin Chinese. In 2008 Sarah became a Special Agent in the U.S. State Department. While assigned to the United States Embassy in Beijing, China, Sarah was diagnosed with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. She was 38-years old.

Sarah benefited tremendously from being able to participate in a clinical trial that exploited the gene mutations expressed in the DNA composition of the tumors in her liver. For a remarkable period of time the targeted therapy was incredibly effective at shrinking her cancer by more than 50%. The pain in her abdomen subsided, her liver performance improved, and she was increasingly more comfortable. Sarah’s energy returned and, to the amazement of everyone, she went back to work as a federal agent. Most importantly, she was once again able to be a mother to our three-year old son, Hank. She was no longer confined to a bed, couch, or wheelchair and for the first time since she was diagnosed we actually shared moments of joy and hope. I am forever grateful to the clinical trial team at MD Anderson Cancer Center because without their innovative research these simple things that most of us take for granted never would have occurred.

Sarah’s cancer was extraordinarily aggressive and adaptive. From diagnosis to her passing, Sarah’s battle with cholangiocarcinoma lasted nine months. The targeted therapy clinical trial was not enough to save her life and she passed away once the trial drugs had ceased to be effective.   I nonetheless still consider the clinical trial to be a success because it added six high-quality months to her life. This would never have happened without the tireless efforts of researchers, doctors, and nurses who dedicate their professional lives to helping find a cure for cholangiocarcinoma.

Although cancer may reside in an individual person, very soon into Sarah’s fight I realized that a team effort was essential in combating the disease. I began a practice of outreach and the outpouring was both immense and humbling. From the MD Anderson clinical trial team who made our lives better, to our friends and family who raised tens of thousands of dollars to offset medical expenses, members of Team Sarah were galvanized from literally all around the globe. Although as her husband I experienced an indescribable loss, I was lifted up by human kindness. This experience compelled me to start Drive Away Cholangio. Drive Away lets me honor not only Sarah’s memory, but also to render support to the caregivers, friends, and family members of all those afflicted by cholangiocarcinoma. I want to do for these people what so many people did for us.

Throughout our cancer journey my family experienced the best in human compassion. We were the beneficiaries of unwavering support from the U.S. State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security and from the U.S. military. A cancer fight is an extremely personal thing and our circle of friends really came out in force to support us, above and beyond simply writing a check. By rolling up their sleeves and putting their own skin in the game, members of Team Sarah sought to provide whatever manner of support they could.”

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What are Drive Away Cholangio’s campaign goals?

Our primary goal is to introduce the program to the cholangiocarcinoma community and capture a minimum of 1000 followers on the Drive Away Cholangio Facebook page.

We want to build a fan base to subsequently help us recruit volunteer drivers. We also want to keep people informed about the program’s progress and challenges, and to be as transparent as possible on how the funds are being applied towards finding a cure.

We want to target and Facebook capture people who have been personally touched by cholangiocarcinoma and by cancer in general. These individuals include caregivers, friends, and family members of those touched by the disease. There is entirely no expectation for patients to participate in Drive Away Cholangio in any capacity.

Do drivers wear uniforms?

As a volunteer driver, once you surpass $100 in ridesharing donations, we will send you a Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation polo shirt for you to proudly wear while driving and being an official ambassador for the Drive Away Cholangio cause. The first twenty people that volunteer to drive for Drive Away Cholangio will receive a free polo shirt embroidered with the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation’s logo on the chest. The shirts give the program credibility and project an image of professionalism. Drivers can choose from white or green.

Why is ridesharing such a good platform for raising funds?

The research fundraising efforts of the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (CCF) are challenged by the simple fact that cholangiocarcinoma is a rare disease that comprises only about 2% of all cancers. CCF is therefore dwarfed by other cancer patient advocacy groups. The cholangiocarcinoma family is relatively small as is the federal research funding for the disease. Adding to the challenge, CCF is comprised almost exclusively of volunteers who, in addition to their daily family and professional responsibilities, donate their time to make the organization run. In addressing its challenges CCF has three indispensable and renewable resources at its disposal: the creativity, resourcefulness, and energy of its members. Drive Away Cholangio leverages technology, social media, and ridesharing to accomplish its mission of fundraising and raising awareness on a national, if not global, scale. It does this 24/7/365. Volunteer drivers are the lynchpins that generate the funds and also help recruit other drivers. Passengers are nonetheless equally important in raising awareness of the disease by posting their Drive Away Cholangio ridesharing experience on their social media feeds.

Drive Away Cholangio is a Win-Win-Win situation for the foundation, drivers, and passengers. Volunteer drivers become engaged with the realization that they are making a difference with every pickup. This similarly becomes the case for every paying passenger. Both subsequently become ambassadors for the cause. Getting people emotionally invested in cholangiocarcinoma research is exactly what we want to achieve.

Who might be interested and who may benefit from Drive Away Cholangio?

Patients who receive treatments as a result of research funded by the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation will be the most immediate beneficiaries of this program, but in addition the volunteers themselves also win. This includes individuals who would otherwise participate in charitable works but are prevented from doing so because traditional manners of volunteering are not compatible with their personal schedules and other time commitments. Drive Away Cholangio is designed to level those barriers and allow people to make philanthropic contributions without disruption to their other activities. Drivers enable themselves to derive the personal satisfaction that comes from being a difference maker to a community in need.

How much of my time will I need to commit as a volunteer driver?

The volunteers themselves determine how much time they can dedicate to the program but it usually takes 3-5 hours of driving per month to reach the goal of raising $50. Of course, this depends on the rider demand in your area but drivers soon discover this time commitment is not onerous because they can volunteer on their own schedule. Some volunteer drivers may decide to drive on the way home from work while others may dedicate a few hours to the program over the weekend. It does not matter where volunteers live or what language they speak. They are able to participate as long as a ridesharing program exists in their location and they have access to PayPal. The sole stipulation we ask of our volunteer drivers is that they donate 100% of their earnings until they meet the threshold of $50 per month for 12 consecutive months.

What is the target demographic to be a volunteer driver?

For purposes of clarity, Drive Away Cholangio is not soliciting existing drivers to donate the ridesharing income they depend upon for their livelihood. Rather, we are encouraging people who have the means to donate their time and register as drivers on Uber, Lyft or any ridesharing platform in their area. Of course, we will accept financial donations with great appreciation – including those from existing ridesharing drivers, however our true objective is to enable people to volunteer their time and register as drivers themselves.

Where do the funds go?

Volunteers drive when they are able and their hard-earned funds are deposited directly into the Drive Away Cholangio fund – an account that is designated solely for funding cholangiocarcinoma research. These funds are not applied to the the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation’s business or administrative costs.  

What are the insurance requirements?

That will depend on the ridesharing platform you elect to drive for. Typically, ridesharing platforms like Uber and Lyft cover their drivers under their own respective insurance policies. Please consult your own personal automobile insurance policy to check if there are additional provisions necessary to utilize your personal vehicle for ridesharing. For example, some automobile insurance policies may require you purchase Gap Insurance which protects you while your vehicle makes the transition from a personal vehicle to a ridesharing vehicle.

Do I need to have a personal connection with cholangiocarcinoma or the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation to participate as a volunteer?

Not at all. We will gladly embrace anyone with a philanthropic heart, including individuals who would otherwise participate in charitable works but cannot because traditional manners of volunteering are not compatible with their personal schedules and other time commitments. Drive Away Cholangio is designed to level those barriers by encouraging people to drive when it suits their schedule so they can make philanthropic contributions without disruption to their other activities. Drivers enable themselves to derive the personal satisfaction that comes from being a difference maker to a community in need.

How do I sign up as a volunteer driver?

Simple. Contact us at DAC@cholangiocarcinoma.org and we will email you an information packet that describes the program in detail. Please do not sign up as an Uber or Lyft driver till we provide you with the promotional code.

How long does it take to raise the $50 monthly commitment?

The volunteers themselves determine how much time they can dedicate to the program but it usually takes 3-5 hours of driving per month to raise the $50 commitment. Of course, this depends on the rider demand in your area but drivers soon discover this time commitment is not onerous because they can volunteer on their own schedule – day or night.

Does Drive Away Cholangio take donations?

Of course, we will accept financial donations with great appreciation – including those from existing ridesharing drivers, however our true objective is to get people emotionally invested in Drive Away Cholangio by volunteering their time and registering as drivers themselves. Getting people to place their own skin in the game in cholangiocarcinoma research is exactly what we want to achieve.

What if I don’t reach the monthly goal of $50?

Nothing happens. We understand life’s commitments sometimes take precedence over charity. We honor your commitment to the Drive Away Cholangio program and will be right there waiting for you when you return behind the wheel the following month. We just ask that you remain committed to raising $50 per month for 12 consecutive months.

Is Drive Away Cholangio asking existing Uber and Lyft drivers for money?

No. If you already drive for Uber, Lyft or some other ridesharing platform and would like to be an ambassador for our cause we would welcome you to our team with open arms. However, Drive Away Cholangio is not soliciting existing drivers to donate the ridesharing income they depend upon for their livelihood. Rather, we are encouraging people who have the means to donate their time to register as ridesharing drivers and get emotionally invested into Drive Away Cholangio.

How does the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation receive my ridesharing revenue?

We have two options and it’s up to you how you would like to do it. First, we can send you the Drive Away Cholangio account information that you can submit when you sign up for Uber, Lyft, or the ridesharing platform of your choice. The funds will be sent directly from your ridesharing platform to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation and you won’t have to worry about anything. Second, you can make your donation to our account on your own via PayPal or by writing a check. Either way, you are making a direct impact to a community in need and making the lives better for those afflicted with cholangiocarcinoma.

I’m interested in becoming a volunteer driver but still have questions. How do I contact you?

Easy. Contact us at DAC@cholangiocarcinoma.org and we will email you an information packet that describes the program in detail. We will also address your questions via email or phone. Please do not sign up as an Uber or Lyft driver till we provide you with the promotional code.

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