Volunteer Cancer Driver Society spokesperson George Garrett said the charity was pleased at the quick response to an appeal for drivers in the Langleys. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Appeal for cancer patient drivers gets rapid response in the Langleys

Volunteer Cancer Drivers says several offered to provide much-needed long-range transportation

When the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society made a public appeal for much-needed long-range drivers to help transport cancer patients to and from the Langleys, the response was immediate.

Society spokesperson George Garrett said five drivers responded shortly after the article appeared in The Times last month.

“We have three of them on the road already.”

Garrett encouraged other would-be volunteers to get in touch.

“We always need drivers.”

READ MORE: Cancer drivers needed in Langley area

The VCDS is a registered charity, with its funding coming from a variety of municipal and charitable sources.

The demand for the service is increasing, a fact reflected in the increased budget for the coming fiscal year of about $180,000, an increase of more than $50,000.

Garrett said the service hopes the Township of Langley will chip in once again, after two successful grant applications in previous years.

The service also plans to apply to Langley City for assistance as well.

The VCDS operates in both Langleys, Abbotsford, Surrey, White Rock, Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Port Moody, the North Shore, Delta and part of New Westminster.

Service to other communities in the Lower Mainland is offered by the Freemason’s Cancer Car Program.

Dispatchers work from home, and volunteers drive one to three times a week. Patients call the number, leave information with their address and time of appointment, and they get a call back within 24 hours with info on the driver.

Drivers are reimbursed 41 cents per kilometre. Some choose to donate a portion back, Garrett said.

The VCDS was created as an emergency replacement by drivers who used to work in the Volunteer Driver Program that was cancelled in 2015 as a cost-saving measure by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) after almost a quarter-century.

When the CCS cancelled its volunteer drivers program, its press release said the decision was based on “factors such as similar government-funded driving programs, decreasing volunteers and ridership as well as increasing operating costs.”

READ MORE: Volunteers driven to help cancer patients

Anyone interested in volunteering with the VCDS can visit the website for information on how to apply: volunteercancerdrivers.ca.

Drivers must provide proof of insurance, a reference, their ICBC driving record, and pass a criminal record check.

To schedule a ride, once a patient has received their referral and knows the dates and times of upcoming appointments, they, a family member or a caregiver can call the dispatch office at 604-515-5400.

The caller will be greeted by an automated attendant and asked for their name, address, phone number and the date and location of their appointment.

They will be contacted via phone by their designated volunteer driver to introduce him/herself, confirm they appointment, and arrange a pickup time.

It’s a round-trip; the driver will wait at the appointment location and return the patient home immediately afterward.

The society offers free transportation to patients throughout diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care. A caregiver may accompany a patient and most drivers can accommodate walkers and wheelchairs.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

Where to find Langley election results

Times reports as ballots are tallied Saturday

VIDEO: North Langley Kodiaks shut out North Surrey Bears

Defensive battle Saturday ends in Langley’s favour

A campaign to give municipalities more say over marijuana advertising

Langley Township wants to avoid a Washington-State-style flood of advertising

Spartans have a rough weekend

Women’s hockey team takes on top-ranked TNT

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Carole James avoids questions on B.C.’s payroll tax (with video)

Green MLA Adam Olsen cites huge tax increase for local business

Most Read