Re-think cancer program

Volunteer drivers are a vital resource for those battling the disease.

The Canadian Cancer Society is ending its Volunteer Driver Program that provides free rides to cancer patients in Metro Vancouver

The Canadian Cancer Society is ending its Volunteer Driver Program that provides free rides to cancer patients in Metro Vancouver

I’m sure The Leader’s readers are well aware of the amazing facility nestled behind Surrey Memorial Hospital on 138 Street – the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Fraser Valley Centre, where patients receive treatments, kindness, amazing doctors, nurses, technicians and volunteers.

But are your readers aware of the additional stress being inflicted on patients who require help to reach their appointments on time?

There is a group of selfless volunteers under the auspices of the Canadian Cancer Society who drive patients without other resources to and from treatments and appointments at the clinic. The Volunteer Driver Program has been in place for many years but is soon to be “phased-out” by the cancer society. The only reason cited so far is, “It’s not needed with other options in the community.”

I’m a senior and one of the cancer patients who has been accessing the volunteer driver program. My tumour is in my brain and even if I still had a car, I would not be allowed to drive myself. Public transport is not a viable option for me because of some side effects that make me a little unsteady and I walk with a cane. My family lives out of town, and several of my friends have been ill and were not permitted to drive me.

I go to the clinic for radiation (combined with chemotherapy capsules) five days a week, Monday to Friday, and I was so grateful for the volunteer drivers that I made an extra donation to the cancer society this year, designated for the Volunteer Drivers Program. That was two days before I was informed that the service would not be continuing. I felt as if my gratitude was being discounted.

All the drivers are volunteers because cancer has touched their own lives or the life of a close friend or family member and they are donating their time and vehicles.

As for the “other options,” this is what I’ve discovered:

– The Freemasons Cancer Car program only drives to Vancouver, not to Surrey.

– Senior Services Society has a wait list to register and once a senior is registered, the society requires a week’s notice for a drive. As radiation patients only get their following week’s appointments on Thursdays, this would leave me without a driver for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

– Driving Miss Daisy is a private (for hire) service.

– TransLink’s HandyDart service can arrive half an hour before the time requested or up to an hour later, which wouldn’t work for radiation treatments that are timed to begin one hour after the chemotherapy treatment has been taken.

I contacted my MLA and her secretary contacted the cancer society on my behalf and asked me to call as well, which I did. Unfortunately, the lovely lady at the other end of the phone call was unable to offer any alternative services to those I’ve already listed.

Cancer is stressful enough without having to worry about getting to treatment. The Canadian Cancer Society should re-think phasing out this very necessary and much-appreciated program. Would a petition be effective?

Annette Martin

Surrey North Delta Leader

Just Posted

Dooris Raad was last seen in South Surrey’s Ocean Park neighbourhood on June 7. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Scales of Justice, Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Scales of Justice, Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Teacher’s elbow injury case against Surrey School District, WorkSafeBC struck by judge

Judge says processes put in place by legislation, collective agreement must be followed

Doris Anderson’s digital triptych Aberration, which she is marketing as an NFT.
Semiahmoo Peninsula abstract painter dives into NFT market

Works sold as one-of-a-kind digital files

Vancouver law courts. (File photo)
Surrey murderer loses appeal in 2011 Christmas eve shooting in Newton

Bradley McPherson, 28, was shot in the back of the head during an after-hours house party

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Cruise ship passengers arrive at the port of Ketchikan, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

Most Read