Cancer society ditches free rides for patients

Charity blames drop in donations, volunteers to offer rides to cancer treatment

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

The Canadian Cancer Society will stop operating its Volunteer Driver Program that for years has given patients free rides to and from chemotherapy and radiation treatment in many B.C. communities.

The society says declines in donations and volunteers have forced the end of the service, which cost $400,000 a year.

“Unfortunately we’ve had to make the really difficult decision to close the program effective Oct. 6,” said Sandra Krueckl, vice-president of cancer control for the Canadian Cancer Society’s B.C. and Yukon division.

“Donor dollars have been shrinking in recent years,” she said, adding the cancer society has felt the same stresses as many other charities, including a slide in how many hours volunteers are now willing to commit out of their increasingly busy lives.

“As our current volunteers are retiring out of their current volunteer roles, we are not seeing the same number of volunteers coming up behind them.”

About 80 clients per month used the program, which was staffed by roughly 380 volunteers around B.C.

Drivers used their own vehicles and were reimbursed 41 cents per kilometre for gas and wear-and-tear.

Other transportation alternatives exist in most communities, Krueckl said, adding demand for rides had been declining.

She stressed that the Freemasons Cancer Car Program, a separate ride service that the cancer society is a partner in, is unaffected and will continue to operate.

The society asked the province, which already contributes to the operations of its cancer lodges, to provide more funding to support the ride program, but was declined.

“While they certainly were sympathetic to our situation and understood our declining revenue situation and challenges with supporting this program in the future, they have competing priorities,” Krueckl said.

The loss of the cancer society program will be felt mainly in some parts of Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island, she added.

The cancer society is advising clients on what other ride services may be available in each area. They can call 1-888-939-3333.

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

Just Posted

July 25, 2019:  Zach Clay of Canada during the Pan American Games Men's Artistic Gymnastics podium training at Polideportiva Villa el Salvador in Lima, Peru.   Daniel Lea/CSM
COVID costs Chilliwack gymnast Zach Clay last chance at qualifying for Olympics

Clay won’t be able to compete at the upcoming Senior Pan American Championships in Brazil

Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)
Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Phil Anderson to receive training after comparing wearing a mask to slavery on his Facebook page

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on B.C. highways – checkpoint at Manning Park

Four checkpoints are set up Thursday, May 6 around the province

UBC Sports Hall of Famer Carrie (Watson) Watts (far right, front row) helped lead the UBC Thunderbirds to the 2004 national championship, their first since 1974. She served as assistant coach a few years after graduation. (Photo/UBC)
Agassiz-born basketball star inducted into UBC Sports Hall of Fame

Carrie (Watson) Watts helped lead the team to their first championship in decades

Winnie Peters, centre, spoke about the loss of two husbands over the years, both of who were murdered. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls event in Hope on May 5, 2021 included prayers for men who have been killed as well. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)
Red dresses hang in Hope’s Memorial Park in remembrance

Group gathers for National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund a virtual care platform

Rex, an elderly golden Labrador retriever, is surrounded by his rescuers in Golden Ears Provincial Park. (Special to The News)
VIDEO: Dog survives plunge over Gold Creek Lower Falls in Maple Ridge

Fire chief asks for visitors to be more cautious in Golden Ears Provincial Park

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Most Read