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

Langley curling couple bound for provincials in Creston

Craig and Karen Lepine are skipping their own teams in the upcoming BC masters curling competition.

Langley Hospice issues formal statement opposing MAiD directive

Board of directors responds to ‘groundswell of opposition’ from community and volunteers

Aldergrove family first in B.C. to receive reimbursement for life-altering arthritis drug

Effective medication used to treat rare form of juvenile arthritis costs $19,000 a month

Lower Mainland dance squad set to show off hip hop skills in L.A.

TwoFourSeven Company prepping for prestigious World of Dance event in April

Langley Township considers meeting with Fort landowner

A major Fort Langley landowner has left some of his buildings boarded up.

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

Mixed messages on B.C.’s efforts to cool hot housing market

Economist says undersupply of homes in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will keep prices high

Foot found near Victoria belonged to missing Washington man

Coroner says no foul play suspected in death of 79-year-old Stanley Okumoto

Questions raised over B.C. NDP’s childcare budget plan

Advocates concerned how to fill 22,000 new spaces for early childhood educators

Police zero in on Vancouver park in search of missing mom

Evidence shows Su Yi Liang’s car in the parking lot of New Brighton Park on Jan. 8

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

IIO: Kamloops RCMP did not have to report shooting

The IIO is not investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred in Kamloops in 2017

No smoke alarm, faulty cord contributed to fatal B.C. fire

Faulty electric cord and power source connected to space heater believed to have caused flames

Most Read