Volunteer cancer driver Judy White gets ready to leave her home in Maple Ridge to take a local cancer patient to their appointment. (Joti Grewal/Black Press Media)

Cancer driver given renewed purpose

A retired banker from Maple Ridge now fills many of her days as a volunteer

A retired Maple Ridge woman is finding a new purpose in life with the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society.

Judy White, 68, started volunteering with the organization after she answered an ad in the newspaper for drivers wanted.

“What I found, when I retired, is I didn’t have a purpose,” said White. “I didn’t have to get up and catch a train and go to work, I didn’t have to get up to do anything, but this gets me up and out, and out in the community, so I feel like I have a purpose now.”

Cancer drivers is a not-for-profit organization that provides rides for patients to and from their cancer-related appointments throughout the Lower Mainland.

READ MORE: A brighter financial picture for non-profit Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society

White has been volunteering with the organization in her community for over a year and said she finds it “very” rewarding.

“Some of these clients, they are all alone and they don’t have anyone to talk to, so the drive there and back is an opportunity for them to have some company,” she said.

The demand for rides in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows fluctuates each week, according to White, but she recalls January being a particularly busy month this year.

White said she tries to schedule her own personal appointments all on one day so it leaves her schedule open to better accommodate the cancer patients and their appointments.

“If the demand is there I can drive up to five times a week, if the demand isn’t there it might be once a week,” she said.

Cancer is no stranger to White’s family. Her mother, step-father, father-in-law and mother-in-law were all diagnosed with the disease.

“My mom just turned 90 (years-old) and she’s still going strong,” she said.

READ MORE: Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

One of the challenges the organization faces in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows is the city’s proximity to some of the treatment centres in Surrey or Abbotsford, according to Jim McQueen.

The 70-year-old volunteers as a dispatcher with the organization and schedules rides for cancer patients in the community.

“It takes more drivers because we have almost as many patients, but they’re gone for usually half a day,” McQueen said.

The program is free to all cancer patients and relies on donations from the community.

“We’re there to provide a service no matter what their circumstances are,” he said.

To schedule a ride, the cancer drivers dispatch can be reaches at 604-515-5400 or an appointment can be scheduled online at www.volunteercancerdrivers.ca.

Within 24 hours a Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society dispatcher will call and confirm the appointment and riders can specify if they travel with a walker or wheelchair and whether they require any special assistance.



joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Flames drop two games on weekend

Ridge Meadows hosts Pilots on Friday

Pitt Meadows police review nearing recommendations

Report to council expected as soon as November

First two days of advance voting up 25 per cent

Polls busy including Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge

Council wants more details on Maple Ridge transport plan

Wants clarification from TransLink on roads, mass transit

Premier in Maple Ridge for new school announcement

Horgan at new school opening, announces funding to buy new site

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Advanced polls see 29 per cent increase in voter turn out from 2015

Some 4.7 million people took part, says Elections Canada

Pot use admission at U.S. border snagging Canadian boomers, says lawyer

A waiver to enter the U.S. can cost $2,000 and isn’t a guarantee

Health concerns over vaping cast haze over Canadian cannabis market expansion

More than 1,000 people in the United States, and a handful in Canada, have developed a lung ailment

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

Most Read