President, Bob Smith.
Since February 2016 volunteers of our Society have responded to requests for assistance from patients in need of cancer treatments, entering into 2019, we are assisting patients with more than 800 appointments per month. The growth in requests for our services has been rapid and challenging. It is given by caring people who see the Society’s request for support as a gift of service and time that neighbours give to one another. All of the volunteers offer emotional support to patients and often have to be a good listener as patients struggle with the threat of a life-ending illness. As a group, we are all touched by the health challenge of our patients particularly when they are tending to a young family and carrying the anxiety of their diagnosis.
Our organization was founded by three gentlemen who felt that the decision of the Canadian Cancer Society to cancel the service in 2015 left patients in considerable distress. Many cancer patients must attend treatment centres daily for up to 35 days, and many others on a less frequent basis but for months and years.
While family and friends help where they can, often they are working or do not live locally leaving patients exposed to expensive modes of transportation or the inconvenience of prolonged waiting for a ride home. Our volunteers pick them up, wait for them and take them back home. We do this without expense to the patient.
However, faced with a growth rate of over 30% per year we are entirely reliant on donations. In 2019 we will expect we will need $350,000 to cover expenses and build (ensure) a reserve to meet future growth in the coming years.
Cancer patients will continue to need the services of people like the volunteers of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society for years into the future. We intend to be there for them and look to the community at large to make it possible.
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