Cancer Drivers spokesperson George Garrett says the all-volunteer service may be forced to dip into its cash reserves. (Photo: Black Press file)

Punjabi, Hindi speaking drivers needed to drive cancer patients

Volunteers drive cancer patients to and from appointments in Surrey and area

An increasing need for more Punjabi- and Hindi-speaking drivers for Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society has resulted in the society putting a call out for help.

George Garrett is vice-president of Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society. He said the need for drivers who speak the two languages has been increasing over the past few years.

Patients being driven to appointments “are much more comfortable if they’re speaking their own languages,” he said, adding that sometimes families are able to send along another family member who speaks English to tag along.

And if the society is unable to match a patient with a driver who speaks their language?

“We just have to have an English-speaking driver who tries their best.”

RELATED: ‘At some point, we can all use a lift’: Help wanted in Surrey by fledgling Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society, June 27, 2017

Garrett said drivers develop a bond with their patients as they can be driving together “quite often.” For someone going through radiation treatment, the patient could have “30-some treatments in six weeks.”

And, as Garrett says, “it’s more than just a ride.”

“It’s companionship and someone a patient can talk to in confidence. Sometimes sharing some bad news, sometimes laughter in the car.

“Our drivers are very compassionate.”

And they have to be with the kilometres they’ve driven since the society’s inception. Back in December, drivers hit a milestone of one million kilometres. Volunteers also donated 62,000 hours of their time.

“The drivers themselves are our biggest donor group,” said Garrett of the volunteer drivers, who donate their gas money back to the society.

In the summer, Garrett told Black Press Media that an increased demand and rising gas costs could for the all-volunteer service to dip into its cash reserve.

Garret told the Now-Leader that not much has changed since the summer with the most expensive area being Abbotsford-Langley.

RELATED: Cancer drivers say Langley-Abbotsford is costliest to serve

“As it turns out, the cost in the Langley-Abbotsford district is as high as $49 per trip.”

Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society began on Feb. 29, 2016 to replace the previous service cancelled by the Canadian Cancer Society in 2015.

“We have grown from a handful of volunteer drivers at the beginning to the point where we now have 175 volunteer drivers (men and women) and 10 dispatchers,” a press release from the society reads.

For more information, to book a ride or volunteer, visit volunteercancerdrivers.ca.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Just Posted

Surrey’s Flamingo ‘closing forever’ following final concert in February

Whalley venue reopened under new management in January 2018

Surrey needs 350 more cops, activist tells council

‘Right now we are 350 police behind what our population requires,’ politicians are told

Surrey reviewing clothing bin safety in wake of deaths

School district confirms all donation bins were removed from its properties, citing safety concerns

Delta bans clothing donation bins citing safety concerns

Owners have until Jan. 29 to remove the bins, after which the city will charge them for the removal

The science of edible photographs on shortbread bisquits: A Surrey artist talks

Sylvia Grace Borda at Science World a week after her art show opens at KPU

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of Brunette overpass

Dash cam footage shows a vehicle speeding across a Lower Mainland overpass

Lower Mainland teacher resigned after ‘inappropriate discussions’ with elementary students

Tracy Joseph Fairley resigned from Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows district April 23, 2018

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Where mattresses go to die

Mattress Recycling opens the largest of its kind mattress-recycling facility in Hope

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Most Read