Getting the word out about Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society in Chilliwack were Kelly Velonis of Chilliwack & District Seniors’ Resources Society, and George McCaffer of VCDS. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress)

Volunteer drivers ready to take Chilliwack residents to cancer treatments

Since Chilliwack program launched in July, there's been less patient demand than anticipated

Cancer patients looking for a ride to treatments from Chilliwack have options.

They can call Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society dispatch or go to the online book-a-ride service.

Since launching the program in Chilliwack earlier this summer, there’s been less demand from patients than anticipated.

So as a result they’re redoubling efforts to get the word out to anyone needing free, personalized transportation to receive their cancer treatments in a timely, courteous manner.

Spokesperson George McCaffer said driver applications rolled in, but not patient bookings from those seeking a lift from their roster of compassionate volunteer drivers.

“Our original concern that we might not have enough drivers to meet the demand won’t be the case. The community spirit in Chilliwack is inspiring,” McCaffer said.

They’re not exactly sure why response from actual patients has been so low.

“Perhaps it’s lack of general awareness about us, or the fact that it’s summertime,” McCaffer offered.

Kelly Velonis, executive director of Chilliwack and District Seniors’ Resources Society, agreed it might be a lack of awareness about the newly established transportation service.

“We know that the demand is there from the research we did prior to the launch,” Velonis said. “So it may just be that people are not aware now that the service is up and running now in Chilliwack.”

The team of volunteer drivers and dispatchers can offer “peace of mind” for patients who need a ride to and from cancer treatments and medical appointments, according to the website. Across the Lower Mainland society volunteers have provided more than 71,000 trips over two million kilometres with 216 drivers.

“The physical, emotional and financial burden is lifted knowing our friendly volunteers are only a call away.”

Call Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society dispatch at (604)-515-5400 or fill out a ride request form.

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