The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society (VCDS) was formed by dedicated and caring volunteers who enjoyed providing transportation through the Canadian Cancer Society's Volunteer Driver program. Knowing how much patients appreciate and value this service, these experienced and committed drivers and dispatchers now continue to offer round trip transportation for patients living in our dedicated areas for treatments at facilities in the lower mainland.
We are a Society of volunteers dedicated to meeting the transportation needs of cancer patients now and in the future.
We will provide free, safe timely and efficient transportation for patients to and from cancer related treatment and doctors appointments throughout the Lower Mainland.
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.
Founders & Board Members
Bob Smith, BCom., MBA, CCHL is currently a health management consultant. He led a long career in executive positions in the health industry in Canada and served on a number of national boards focused on health policy, strategy and research. More recently he was an Adjunct Professor in the Sauder School of Business at UBC. He is committed to community service and serves as a Public Adjudicator for the BC Law Society and President of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society. He is a resident of Surrey.
George was born Nov 16, 1934, in Mortlach, Saskatchewan and educated in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He also completed a Diploma Course in Marketing at the University of British Columbia. He spent 47 years in radio (43 at CKNW) as a news reporter, covering everything from crime to politics. He has a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jack Webster Foundation and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Canadian Association of TV/Radio News Directors. Also, George received 2 Broadcaster of the Year Awards from the BC Association of Broadcasters, is an Honorary Lifetime Member–RCMP Veterans Association Vancouver Division, an Associate Member Vancouver Police Superannuated Police Officers Association and Honorary Constable New Westminster Police Department. He also volunteers with Alzheimer’s Society.
George McAffer retired after 49 years in a number of fields. He served as a fighter pilot and senior officer in the RCAF for 30 years, serving in most provinces of Canada including the high Arctic, as well as in Europe, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. Subsequently, he served in an executive position with the BC Government and then as Vice President Asian Operations for Canadian Standards Association, based in Singapore. On return to Canada, he owned two successful businesses in the Lower Mainland. He has volunteered on the YMCA board of directors, as an executive in youth hockey and swim organizations and as a Crisis Line worker where he resides in Surrey.
Bill Ruppel began a 40-year career in aviation with the Cdn Armed Forces as an ROTP candidate and acquired a BA degree from the University of Waterloo and served for six years as a fighter pilot at CFB Bagotville QC. A 31-year career with Air Canada based in Vancouver followed with his retirement in 2009. His volunteer work includes organizing an annual motorcycle ride for Air Canada’s Dreams take flight charity, White Rock South Surrey Hospice and is currently the Driver/Dispatch Coordinator for the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society. He is a resident of Surrey.
Larry Coleman has been a superintendent for a general contractor for approximately 40 years throughout BC and Washington State. The structures ranged from apartments to concrete warehouses, shopping plazas, schools and hospitals. His volunteer activities range from Make-A-Wish Foundation of BC, Lifeline Crisis Centre, Eagle Ridge Hospital, Ride2Survive, Cops for Cancer and the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society. He resides in Port Moody.
Dave Ludwar is currently a management consultant, focusing on financial and operational initiatives in the Lower Mainland. He has spent 30+ years in senior management roles in the Canadian Financial Services Industry. He served on the Retail Board of Governors for the Investment Funds Institute of Canada and President’s Council for several Canadian Mutual Fund Companies. His volunteer work includes the Canadian Kidney Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, VGH Hospital Foundation, and Canadian Diabetes Association. He is an avid golfer, kayaker and resides in White Rock
Orrie Babiuk, B.Ed. and a M.Ed., taught school for 35 years in the New Westminster School District at the elementary and secondary levels and as the school teacher on pediatrics at R.C.H. She has volunteered at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Terry Fox Run in New Westminster, and has been a dispatcher/driver for the Canadian Cancer Driver Program and Area Coordinator for the April Canadian Cancer Daffodil Campaigns and the March Kidney Campaigns. Orrie is currently the treasurer for the New Westminster Retired Teachers, treasurer for the BC Delta Kappa Gamma Women Educators’ Society, and is a board member of the Canadian Harambee Education Society. She enjoys playing the flute, dragon boating and resides in New Westminster.
Tom Akam, CPA, CA has worked in accounting, taxation and business valuations both in industry and public practice since 1964. Tom also serves on the boards of two recreational organizations and volunteers his time in support of the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia. He has served on strata councils for more than thirty-five years. Now retired, his interests are lawn bowling and RVing. He is a resident of Surrey.
Volunteer Communications Team
Melissa Godinho, RN, BSCN, CON(C). Originally a founding VCDS dispatcher for the Langley area, Melissa’s role within the VCDS has evolved just as the VCDS has grown since its inauguration. Melissa assisted with the VCDS’ initial administrative functions and is now involved with the management of the online dispatching system, Ride Scheduler. She is currently a Registered Nurse at BC Children’s Hospital in the Oncology, Hematology, and Bone Marrow Transplant department, Melissa has been working in the nursing profession for several years with experience within the specialities of medicine, oncology, and palliative care. It is from her foundational participation on the front-lines in the public healthcare system that inspires her dedication and advocacy to community service. Melissa is a resident of Vancouver, BC.
Liesa Billings provides the VCDS with Digital Marketing & Website Development, which includes Social Media Planning and Management, Newsletters, Website Growth, Analytics & Graphic Design. Liesa is the founder of Left Coast Marketing and has enjoyed a rewarding career in the hospitality industry where she transformed her expertise into a Boutique Digital Marketing & Website Development company for that same industry. Liesa is committed to bettering the lives of those where she lives through volunteering for food/clothing drives for the Richmond Food Bank and Dr. Ngenga's Foundation Charity. She sat on the board of Down Stage Right Productions as Executive Producer for five years. Today she is turning her volunteer work to The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society as part of the Communications and Marketing Team. She is a resident of Delta, BC.