Joan Henn at the driver’s wheel of her car that she uses to voluntarily drive cancer patients to their appointments.

Joan Henn at the driver’s wheel of her car that she uses to voluntarily drive cancer patients to their appointments.

Cancer Society looking for local volunteer drivers

The Canadian Cancer Society is looking for more people in the Cowichan Lake area to join their Volunteer Driver Program.

The Canadian Cancer Society is looking for more people in the Cowichan Lake area to join their Volunteer Driver Program. The program relies on a dedicated team of volunteers who donate their time and vehicles to transport patients to cancer treatment facilities.

“For many people, a cancer diagnosis can mean they need to rearrange their entire lives to participate in treatment, and in the Cowichan Lake area this can be particularly challenging,” says Margaret Davis, volunteer recruiter for the Cowichan Valley.

“Cancer treatment may last for weeks or months and include daily or weekly trips to the Cancer Agency in Victoria for chemotherapy or radiation.” she adds.

That’s where the Canadian Cancer Society can help. People looking for a ride simply call the Canadian Cancer Society office in Duncan (250-746-4134). They are then contacted by a dispatcher and picked up by a friendly volunteer who drives them to treatment in Victoria and back home. The drivers, many of whom have been touched by cancer themselves, provide a safe ride and a sympathetic ear.

There are 53 Canadian Cancer Society drivers in the Cowichan Valley, but there are very few located in the Cowichan Lake area at the present time.

Joan Henn, 76, a Honeymoon Bay resident, has been a volunteer driver for nine years. She encourages others to join the program.

“I think it’s the satisfaction of knowing that you’re able to help these people out. Not only are they ill, their families are stressed and they don’t always want to have that long drive on top of that,” she says. “And I just enjoy meeting the variety of people. Ive met some really nice people.”

Volunteer drivers use their own vehicles, which must be clean and safe. They are reimbursed for mileage, and most drive not more than two to three times a month. They must provide a driver abstract with no driving infractions and proof of third party liability insurance of $3 million.

If you have some time available and would like to volunteer to be a Canadian Cancer Society driver, or if you would like more information about driving and other interesting volunteer opportunities, please contact Davis.  You can reach her through the Duncan office at 250-746-4134 or at her home in Lake Cowichan at 250-749-3869.