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

Lucas Mannes comes home, leading Calgary Dinos against UFV Cascades

The Canada West scoreboard tracks Chilliwackians playing in the university basketball ranks.

UPDATE: No charges in fatal police Taser incident in Chilliwack

RCMP watchdog concludes no evidence of excessive or disproportionate force was used by officers

Century 21 in Chilliwack gathers to donate blood

With an ongoing need for more blood, local realtor recruits team to roll up sleeves and donate

Case of man caught with 27,500 fentanyl pills in Chilliwack thrown out due to Charter breach

‘Ambiguous’ signal by drug sniffer dog Doodz leads to B.C. Supreme Court decision

Agassiz Harrison Musem gets funding boost from village

The Village of Harrison will be giving the museum $10K in funding each year

VIDEO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Surrey Pretrial inmate lodges human rights complaint for not being fed kosher food

Inmate claims denial of her request for kosher diet violates Section 8 of the Human Rights Code

Richmond businesses struggle to hire and keep staff because of high cost of housing

Chamber of commerce calls for diverse housing options, redevelopment of George Massey corridor

LETTER: Seniors home care, day programs expanding, Adrian Dix says

B.C. health minister responds to latest Seniors Advocate report

B.C. woman wins Instagram celebrity’s boob job contest

‘Kirill was here’ held a contest for women to win a boob job and a trip to Miami

Man pulls over to help injured owl, gets hit by SUV

Chase RCMP say owl flew away while they were on scene

New food guide addresses ‘elephant’ in the room – alcohol

Experts welcomed the tougher stance on an issue they say demands a co-ordinated strategy

Most Read