Milestone

A line in an old Al Jolson song says, “I’d walk a million miles for one of your smiles.”

We’re smiling a lot at the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society. Our wonderful volunteer drivers have just reached a milestone…over a million kilometres driven since our inception nearly three years ago. We have grown to the point where we have 175 registered volunteer drivers who have made over 17,000 trips with cancer patients.

WhiteRockSingers

Wonderful day at a benefit concert for us by the White Rock Singers at the Peninsula United Church in the Crescent Beach area of Surrey. The church was packed..about 250 people who donated $2873.01 which will be matched by our great private sponsor in South Surrey. People appreciated such a good turnout from our organization. Bob and Pat Smith; George & Pat McAffer, Tom and drivers Sharon Beaudreau and Nancy Salmon all the way from Maple Ridge.

George Garret

Cancer drivers say Langley-Abbotsford is costliest to serve

Increased demand and rising gas costs could force all-volunteer service to dip into cash reserves

Higher gas prices and increased demand are squeezing the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society (VCDS). George Garrett is the spokesperson for the organization and he joins us now to discuss how these new factors could force the all-volunteer service to dip into cash reserves.

Guest: George Garrett
Spokesperson for the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society
Legendary CKNW reporter

Interview by Simi Sara CKNW. 

Have a listen to the interview here.

VolunteerDispatcher

It is with great regret that we say farewell to Dispatcher Amy Wong who will be resigning as of the end of August.  Amy has been one of our volunteer dispatchers since the beginning of VCDS and said...

“It is a great privilege for me to see the evolvement of VCDS into a very successful, well-organized charity organization. I feel very blessed that I can be part of it and come to know all the dedicated board members, drivers and dispatchers (even though I haven’t met many of them). Special thanks to all the Tri-Cities Drivers for their co-operation and dedication, which make my dispatching much easier.”

Newly trained backup Dispatcher and Tri-Cities driver Jacki Bostock has graciously agreed to accept the challenge of filling Amy’s shoes and they will make the transition in the coming weeks.

Thank you Amy for your tireless and dedicated service to the VCDS, and thank you Jacki!  

Two other drivers have offered to serve as backup dispatchers for us, Sharon Bourdeau and Jeff Laurie.  Visit the VCDS website for bio information on Jacki, Sharon and Jeff.

Thank you all for helping keep our drivers on the road to help ease the burden of cancer patients.

Cancer Drivers Society literally cleaned up at its first ever Celebrity Car Wash in White Rock.

Led by celebrities Gordie Hogg, MP for South Surrey-White Rock and Global TV weatherman Mark Madryga volunteers worked non-stop as customers drove in to have their vehicles washed. The community support was terrific, to the Semiahmoo Rotary and countless volunteers who help make these events happen, Thank You!

Celebrity Car Wash

CelebrityCarWash

People were incredibly generous, donating more than $2,000 to the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society. Donations were matched by a key supporter in South Surrey, doubling contributions to $4,000. The event was held at White Rock Volkswagen on 152 Street.

VCDS

The Celebrity Car Wash Event capped off a great week. On Tuesday, the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society was the beneficiary of a Butterfly Event at Peninsula Seniors Residence where more than $2,000 was raised.

President Bob Smith thanked both White Rock Volkswagen and the Peninsula Seniors Residence for their support. Smith said, “We especially want to thank our generous donors.”

GlobalTVBC

VCDS-CarWash

Community Car Wash

Sunday June 24th
White Rock Volkswagen, 2092 152 Street, Surrey.
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

On Sunday June 24th, it will be all hands on deck at White Rock Volkswagen as dealership staffers, local Rotary volunteers and Gordie Hogg, MP for South Surrey White Rock pitch in to support The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society.

From 10:00 AM to 2:00 pm everyone is invited to come for a car wash at White Rock Volkswagen, take a selfie with your local MP, and support the volunteer drivers who take cancer patients to their medical appointments for free.  The price is by donation. The results can be life-saving.

“We’re grateful for the tremendous support from White Rock Volkswagen and Rotary as well as from many members of the business community who put up our posters.  We’re looking forward to a really fun and successful event,” said Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society president, Bob Smith.

The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society provides free transportation to cancer patients who need a ride to and from their cancer treatments in most of the Lower Mainland.  Founded just over two years ago, the dedicated group of volunteer drivers and dispatchers handled 6,300 round trips in 2017, approximately 2,000 of which were from the Surrey/Delta area.

All VCDS volunteer drivers use their own vehicles and are not paid for their time.  To offset their cost of gas and insurance, the drivers are paid $0.44/km, an expense that costs the organization an average of $17,000 per month.

The White Rock VW car wash will help fund the volunteer drivers’ expenses.  

For more information contact

George Garrett
604-961-1660

 

Recently the North Shore News supported a plea for New Drivers living in the North Shore. Nobody understands more than Tina Poole, our North Shore volunteer dispatcher. 

“It’s very rewarding, you get to meet new people, it’s a relatively easy job on the physical side of things. … They’re all very nice clients, they’re all very grateful for our services,” Tina Poole 

Thank you Tina for such a heartfelt call for volunteer drivers in the North Shore, particularly West Vancouver. It is hard for a dispatcher not to be able to get cancer patients to their appointments, particularly after losing four drivers for that area in a short span of time. Lets help Tina get volunteer drivers for North and West Vancouver by spreading the word about the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society.

Read Full Article Here

We rely on the support of the local news to keep the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society in the spotlight.  What we do is so incredibly important to the families and cancer patients lives that we must drive down every avenue possible to continue on, both with funding and keeping our team of volunteer drivers on the road. Recently The Province and the Vancouver Sun put us in the spotlight with this headline.

"Extreme gasoline prices in Metro Vancouver are threatening the crucial service provided by the 148 volunteers who drive thousands of cancer patients to their treatments, says Pauline Buck of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society. Its drivers covered 362,000 kilometres last year."

photo credit: The Province & Vancouver Sun 

“Some patients go 30 different times to their radiation treatments,” said Buck. “We are very appreciative of the generosity of the public and especially our drivers, who give both financially and of their time. We are keeping a close eye on the increasing cost of gas and hoping we won’t need to raise our allowance again soon.”  Pauline Buck - Communications Director and Board Member

Read Full Article Here

CBCNEWS

Recently Tina Lovgreen of CBC News wrote about the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society which featured Glen and Sharon Charlesworth, volunteer drivers from the Langley area. People like Elsie McPherson is what keeps this couple in the driver's seat.

For Elsie McPherson, 74, who has Angiosarcoma, a cancer of the inner lining of blood vessels, the program has been, in her own words, a "God-send." 

In the meantime read this excellent article, we hope it will inspire you to become a volunteer driver or perhaps make a donation to help keep us on the road.

Read More CBC.CA >

The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society is continuing to recruit volunteer drivers, in particular, long-distance drivers, to drive cancer patients to and from their medical appointments. You can apply directly on our website under the Volunteer tab. We look forward to hearing from you.

Volunteering Information

The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society was formed in early 2016 to fulfil an urgent need for cancer patients for free transportation to and from treatment.

Our Founders Garth Pinton, George Garrett and the late John MacInnes were passionate about the welfare of cancer patients and decided to form our new Society. With very little money we began operations on February 29, 2016. Word spread quickly and the demand for our essential service grew quickly. In 2017 we had grown to the point of having 130 registered volunteer drivers, seven dispatchers and a Board of Directors of 10 experienced people, headed by President Bob Smith. Our service is widespread. We cover from North and West Vancouver to the Tri-Cities, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows and Mission on the north side of the Fraser River and the south shore from Abbotsford through Langley, Surrey, White Rock and Delta.

In 2017 our volunteer drivers completed 6,281 return trips taking cancer patients from their homes to treatment and back home again. Drivers wait while patients are being treated. Sometimes that is two or three hours. Drivers logged 362,852 kilometres in 2017 and put in 16,799 hours.

All of our people: drivers, dispatchers and directors are volunteers. We have no paid employees. We do not have an office. Dispatchers work from their own homes. Drivers use their vehicles. 93% of all funds we raise are used to compensate drivers for gas and minor maintenance. Many drivers, women and men donate part of that back to our Society. Only 7% of our funds are for administrative expenses.

VolunteerCancerDriversSociety

MISSION
We will provide free, safe timely and efficient transportation for patients to and from cancer-related treatment and doctors appointments throughout the Lower Mainland.

VISION
We are a Society of volunteers dedicated to meeting the transportation needs of cancer patients now and in the future.

VALUES
As dedicated Society Members, we value:

The opportunity to help cancer patients in their journey;
The generosity of our donors who make it all possible;
The time and commitment of fellow volunteers who keep our Mission alive;
The right to privacy for each of these stakeholders; And that together volunteers and donors can make a difference.