Drivers needed to help cancer patients 0
South Central Cancer Resource co-ordinator Laura Matychuk said a sudden increase of new clients from Winkler have put a strain on volunteers, and they ve had to rely on drivers from other communities to cover the extra rides.
By Steven Sukkau
More volunteer drivers are needed to help area cancer patients make the many trips to Winnipeg for treatment.
South Central Cancer Resource co-ordinator Laura Matychuk said a sudden increase of new clients from Winkler have put a strain on volunteers, and they've had to rely on drivers from other communities to cover the extra rides.
"We have very few people on our volunteer driver list in Winkler," Matychuk explained, adding it becomes more expensive and time consuming to send volunteers from farther away. However she's hoping that will change once people know their need.
"With the hearts I know people have in south central Manitoba, people are going to want to help when they know we're struggling," Matychuk said.
Even a handful of drivers from Winkler would be a big help, Matychuk said.
And the SCCR's patient transportation program has only become busier in the last couple of years, Matychuk explained. Since last October alone, they've made over 60 trips from Winkler to Winnipeg, almost half of which employed a driver from another community.
"People need to know this is happening," Matychuk said, adding with increased transportation costs it only makes sense to have Winkler drivers for Winkler clients.
Matychuk also hopes to grow a list of volunteer drivers from Winkler to ensure they have the flexibility to work around people's busy schedules. Whether drivers can help out on a seasonal basis or only certain days of the week, she said they want to be able to work around people's lives.
"We're not asking for a large commitment," Matychuk said, adding volunteers simply drive when they can.
"People have busy lives," Matychuk explained. "But with a pool of volunteers we can make it work."
The SCCR reimburses drivers for parking, mileage and a meal in the city.
And the service makes a big difference in the lives of clients, taking the stress of travel arrangements off their shoulders during this difficult time.
Often patients are very tired after treatment, Matychuk said, and a trip to Winnipeg can be very difficult as well as costly. However, the program alleviates the financial burden and emotional stress.
"This is about helping people," Matychuk said.
To volunteer or donate, call 822-9541 or visit www.sccr.mb.ca.
The SCCR was created by a group of people in south central Manitoba who saw the need for cancer related support services that rural people could access without having to travel a great distance.
SCCR is a registered non-profit charitable organization administered by an elected board of directors whose members live throughout the area.
The organization is funded entirely by the communities that it serves, in the form of grants, memorials, donations and fundraising initiatives by groups and individuals.