A $2,500 grant for the newly formed Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society (VCDS) has been approved by Langley Township council to help the registered charity cover the cost of providing free rides for cancer patients undergoing treatment.
“We are grateful and very busy,” said society vice-president George Garrett.
The society had applied for support in July, after the deadline for grant applications to the Township had expired.
Garrett and director John MacInnes told Township council they were late because their program didn’t get going until January, in response to the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) decision to cancel its volunteer driver program to save money.
The more than 50 drivers for the new service provided over 300 cancer patients with free rides in October, including 41 people in Langley City and Township, 17 in Abbotsford/Mission, and 143 in Surrey, White Rock and Delta.
The 41 cents a kilometre rate the registered charity wants to pay the drivers, along with covering the cost of bridge tolls, will run about $90,000 to $100,000 a year, the society estimates.
So far, the VCDS has obtained funding from several sources including Delta, Surrey, North Vancouver city, North Vancouver district, as well as the Surrey and Langley Township firefighters charities.
Garrett said the drivers also intend to apply to Langley City for assistance.
The VCDS obtained registered charity status on June 13.
The new service operates in Langley, 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.