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 help drive cancer patients

Volunteers drive cancer patients to and from appointments in Lower Mainland

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 from the public.

George Garrett, vice-president of Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society, said the need for drivers who speak the two languages “has been increasing over the last couple of years.”

Garrett said the patients being driven to appointments “are much more comfortable if they’re speaking their own languages.” He added that sometimes families are able to send along another family member who speaks English to tag along for the trip to the appointment.

If the society is unable to match a patient with a driver who speaks their language, Garret said, “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

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

However, Garrett said, “it’s more than just a ride.”

“It’s companionship and someone a patient can talk to in confidence,” Garrett said. “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 driven. 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.

“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.

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

“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

Celebrate Transit Driver Appreciation Day with BC Transit on Mar. 18

Say a little ‘thank you’ to the people who help you get where you need to be safely, like Sherry Lane

LETTER: There’s a man with a gun over there

Agassiz resident Harvey Andrews shares his thoughts on the latest shooting in Chilliwack

LETTER: Kudos to Kent

Agassiz resident Claude Bouchard shares his appreciation for Kent staff following the winter winds

Hope Search and Rescue worried about looming expiry date for government funding

The province’s 80 SAR groups have been sharing $15 million in grants from previous government

LETTER: Avoiding water bottle refill stations short-sighted

Chilliwack’s Ashala Palaniuk shares her thoughts on Harrison’s decision to say no to refill stations

Harrison Hot Springs students bring ‘Twelfth Night’ to life

The adaption of Shakespeare’s classic comedy include songs and phrases from Canada’s east coast

5 to start your day

Gas prices go up, a deadly single-car crash in Coquitlam, big day for Alphonso Davies, and more

Man enters unlocked B.C. home with knife, sexually assaults 22-year-old

Investigation ongoing after woman sexually assaulted in Greater Victoria early Sunday morning

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Gunman kills 3 on Dutch tram; mayor says terror likely

Utrecht police release photo of 37-year-old man born in Turkey who is ‘associated with the incident’

Driver dies in fiery crash in Coquitlam

Police say speed was factor in single-vehicle collision

Facebook announces changes to political advertising to meet new federal rules

Bill C-76 bans the use of money from foreign entities to conduct partisan campaigns

Travel expected to be slowed by fallout from fire at Toronto’s Pearson airport

All U.S.-bound flights from Terminal 1 were cancelled Sunday night after the fire broke out near a security checkpoint

Most Read