File photo                                Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society vice-president George Garrett.

File photo Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society vice-president George Garrett.

SENIORS’ HEALTH: ‘The most beautiful and greatest gift’

Volunteer drivers make the rounds for cancer patients

The Seniors Health Network each month poses a question to health-care professionals. This month, the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society’s George Garrett was asked:

I’m 84 years old and live in White Rock and I have cancer. I need to go to the cancer clinic at Surrey for a series of radiation treatments but I don’t drive anymore. My kids live in Toronto and none of my friends drive anymore, and I’m very nervous about taking the bus. Are there any options for me?

There is indeed a very good option for you.

The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Program began in January 2016 when the Canadian Cancer Society cancelled their driving program. A senior from our community was devastated that the provincial program had been cancelled because without it, she would be unable to get to her treatment facility.

She was not alone. Hundreds of cancer patients across the province faced the same dilemma.

Here in our community, volunteers Garth Pinton and the late John MacInnes began organizing the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society to replace the lost program and to serve the needs of seniors and others in our community who had no alternate transportation.

Within two months, there were several drivers on the road serving cancer patients and the program has grown rapidly since.

Currently the program has several dispatchers and more than 100 volunteer drivers collectively doing over 500 patient trips per month.

This is a phenomenal service to those living with cancer in our community! The volunteers are dedicated to providing free, safe, timely and efficient transportation for cancer patients to and from their various treatment appointments.

This not-for-profit society pays no overhead and the drivers are not paid. They are reimbursed for their mileage.

And it’s not just a ride these volunteers provide. It’s the caring and compassionate attitude that makes them so special.

One senior from White Rock said, “This is the most beautiful and greatest gift I have ever received. I am so grateful to meet such wonderful angels.”

Having company and compassion at such a difficult time in your life is a true blessing.

We are so fortunate to have a program like this in our community.

If you would like to book your ride to and from your series of radiation treatments, they would be delighted to assist you. Please call 604-515-5400 or you can also see their website at www.volunteercancerdrivers.ca

If you wish to volunteer to provide rides and companionship to and from treatment appointments, for those living with cancer, or support the Volunteer Cancer Drivers, call the number above as well.

George Garrett, of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society, is responsible for fund raising. Prior to his retirement, he spent 43 years at CKNW, earning several awards.