Cloverdale’s Envision Financial branch, a division of First West Credit Union, awarded the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society a $20,000 grant on Monday, July 29. From left: Brady Jepsen, George McAffer, Michael Voros, Betty Boudreau, George Garrett, Bob Smith, Ken D’Sena, and Christina Pocock.(Samantha Anderson)

Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society awarded $20K grant by Cloverdale bank

It’s the largest single-year grant the society has received since it began in 2016

The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society was awarded a $20,000 grant on Monday (July 29), the largest single-year grant it has received since it was founded in 2016.

The society’s force of volunteers provide free transportation to cancer patients throughout the Lower Mainland, ensuring that people have a safe ride to and from medical appointments.

Since VCDS began in February 2016, more than 200 volunteer drivers and dispatchers have given of 70,000 hours of their time to the program. According to the organization, drivers have made about 46,000 trips, driving 1,373,000 km — that’s nearly 250 times the length of Canada.

Cloverdale’s Envision Financial branch, a division of First West Credit Union, awarded the funds through its charitable arm, the First West Foundation.

“The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society provides so much more than just transportation to cancer patients in need. Volunteers offer a safe ride, friendship, support, compassion and understanding,” said Susan Byrom, senior manager for community investment at First West Credit Union.

For cancer patients like Betty Boudreau, the service means everything.

Since she was diagnosed a little over a year ago, Boudreau has had 17 different volunteers drive her to multiple appointments.

“I can’t say enough good things about them,” she said. “They’re always courteous. They’ll drive as close up to the door for you as they can. A lot of them carry water in the car.”

The most important part is that “they get it when you don’t want to talk. And they get it when you need to talk,” she said.

VCDS president Bob Smith was one of the volunteers that drove Boudreau to appointments. When they saw each other on Monday, it had been some time. “When I first drove you, you were pretty sick. It’s so nice to see you. I’m just delighted,” he said.

Boudreau, who is in complete response and off chemotherapy, said that it was “nice not to have to call you for a ride.”

Smith laughed.

VCDS was chosen as a grant recipient because, in the years that Envision Financial and First West has supported them, “we’ve come to realize that it’s not just a ride, it’s so much more. It’s giving [patients] company. It’s that caring. It’s really a peace of mind for the patients and their families,” said First West Credit Union community investment coordinator Christina Pocock.

“The piece that jumped out at us is how many of the volunteers give back as well,” she said. “They’re not only giving their time, they’re the largest donor group that [VCDS] has.”

That’s true, said Smith. Volunteers are reimbursed 48 cents a kilometre, but many donate the money back to the society. Those cents add up — this year, VCDS will take in about $60,000 from its own volunteers.

“We just started three years ago with nothing,” remembered VCDS vice-president George McAffer. “We just had a few drivers, no money. Just 40 dollars. And here we are now.”

“We just keep getting more and more drivers, and more and more patients,” he said, explaining that this growth was a good thing, as it indicates more patients are aware of the service that is available to them.

The $20,000 grant from Envision Financial and First West Foundation will “help meet the needs of cancer patients” throughout the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley,” said Smith. “We are truly grateful for such generous support.”

VCDS operates in Langley, Abbotsford, Surrey, White Rock, Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Port Moody, the North Shore, Delta, and part of New Westminster. For more information on the society, visit volunteercancerdrivers.ca.



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Increased border enforcement curbs cross-line parties at Peace Arch State Park

Gatherings between U.S. and Canadian citizens ‘a daily carnival’ – resident

Legion to hold private Remembrance Day ceremony at Cloverdale Cenotaph

General public will not be allowed in Veterans Square for Nov. 11 services this year

Surrey’s overdose death toll this year already exceeds 2019 total

In eight months, there have been 130 fatalities

Sullivan Heights, Tamanawis each report second COVID-19 exposures

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Transgender Surrey brothers debut fantasy novel as author duo Vincent Hunter

‘Transgender people are being misrepresented in popular fiction and media, and we aim to change that’

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, but it didn’t happen

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Horgan promises more child care at $10 per day during Maple Ridge visit

Liberals say the NDP has failed to deliver on daycare

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Mounties impound car of impaired driver celebrating birthday in North Vancouver

RCMP say the person was driving with their headlights off

UPDATE: Abbotsford high school killer back in court for ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing

Gabriel Klein was previously convicted of stabbing Letisha Reimer to death

Rainfall warning says significant showers forecast for entire region

Rain moving across Howe Sound, The Fraser Valley and northern parts of Metro Vancouver this morning.

Most Read