Kelly Velonis of Chilliwack & District Seniors’ Resources Society, and George McAffer of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Chilliwack Progress)

Kelly Velonis of Chilliwack & District Seniors’ Resources Society, and George McAffer of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Chilliwack Progress)

Volunteer cancer drivers needed from Chilliwack to make program a go

They’ve got six drivers so far but need at least a dozen to establish program providing patient rides

More volunteer drivers are needed to establish the volunteer cancer drivers program in Chilliwack.

They’ve been hoping to secure 12 drivers initially from Chilliwack once they start operations on July 19.

Six local drivers are already learning the ropes in orientation, but they need several more to step up.

It was Kelly Velonis, executive director of Chilliwack & District Seniors’ Society, who initially reached out to the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society (VCDS) of the Lower Mainland this past spring, to see if they could assist local folks by driving them to their cancer treatment appointments.

“We said we’d certainly be able to look at that. So we came, we saw, and we said yes,” said George McAffer, executive vice-president of VCDS.

RELATED: Drivers needed from Chilliwack

They said they would establish it locally on two conditions. One, that they get enough volunteer drivers coming forward, and two, that the volunteers are from Chilliwack, or surrounding areas.

“We’re a little bit concerned we might start a little prematurely and disappoint some people, however it’s better to start with some rather than none, in our eyes,” McAffer said.

Drivers must have a vehicle in good working order that they’re willing to use, they must have $3 million in liability insurance, and a relatively clean ICBC driving abstract, with nothing major on it.

The volunteer chauffeurs are required to remain at the treatment centre and provide immediate transportation home again.

Drivers are eligible to receive a monthly vehicle cost reimbursement based on mileage.

Before they start, volunteers do an orientation run with an experienced volunteer cancer driver, travelling to all the treatment facilities in the Lower Mainland, and going over all the procedures. Prospective drivers must also apply for a criminal records check.

To volunteer, fill out the application at www.volunteercancerdrivers.ca.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


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