Dean Callaghan

Dean Callaghan, Introduces Child Ride Program

Providing free, safe, timely and reliable rides for all cancer patients in need is an important mandate of VCDS. For very young patients, those under 9 years of age, we are required to ensure that properly fitting, certified car seats are available and that our drivers are trained on the proper installation. Earlier this year, a number of VCDS drivers undertook training provided in partnership with BCAA on selecting and installing child car seats. That meant our service was available to all, including children under 9, since February. BCAA also generously supported VCDS by providing 6 brand new car seats. If a family does not have a car seat of their own, this will not be a barrier as our drivers will be able to provide one. So far this year, we have provided almost 70 rides to children along with their parent/guardian, including 14 rides requiring car seats.

Another one of our partners is the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Mary MacKillop, Director of Patient Engagement, on behalf of the Foundation, said she knew this would be an amazing partnership from the first time George Garrett and Bob Smith came to meet with them last year. BCCHF provided VCDS with a $15,000 donation and stated they expect the support will last for “a few more years if not longer”. She is delighted with the work that we do and pleased that we can offer drives to children of all ages.

As a driver, it is always quite amazing to experience the optimism and the gratitude from our passengers when we pick them up and drop them off. The impact of the child ride service is evident from the statement below:

“I love the service. It’s very helpful. Friendly drivers. Very supportive. Honestly, without the service provided, I am not sure what I would do.”AM, New Westminster

As the coordinator of the Child Ride Program, I am so proud of all our drivers that have taken part in the training. Coping with cancer is never easy and for families with young children going to cancer appointments, it is hard to imagine the emotional toll it is taking. I am grateful that we can help them by making one aspect of their journey as easy as possible, by providing a reliable, safe ride.

VCDS drivers hands-on training led by Colleen Blundell, BCAA and Dean Callaghan, VCDS.

Article was written by Dean Callaghan