The Irish Cancer Society is making an urgent call for Volunteer Drivers to provide transport for Donegal cancer patients.
The shortage is particuarly bad in coastal Donegal, where patients are in need of transport to and from their hospital chemotherapy treatments.
Last year, the Irish Cancer Society Volunteer Driver Service provided 404 journeys for cancer patients in Donegal and just under 12,000 journeys throughout Ireland.
While there is a need to recruit Volunteer Drivers nationwide as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the expansion of the service, the impact has been particularly felt in some areas facing volunteer shortages.
The Volunteer Driver Service helps to ease the strain of travel on cancer patients, who often find it hard to get to hospital because of transportation costs or they might not be feeling well enough to drive themselves because of their treatment.Volunteers need to be available for two full week days each month, have a roadworthy car, a valid driving license, insurance and NCT. The service is completely free for patients, and volunteers receive money from the Irish Cancer Society to pay for their fuel costs, road tolls and an allowance for food while waiting for the patient.
Irish Cancer Society Director of Services Donal Buggy said: “Now more than ever in Donegal, particularly Coastal Donegal, we urgently need to recruit more Volunteer Drivers so we can continue to provide this incredibly important service to anyone who might need it, so we are encouraging anyone who may meet the requirements to volunteer, to please get in touch with us.”
Irish Cancer Society Volunteer Driver Paul Markey said: “I have been a Volunteer Driver for the Irish Cancer Society for five years. Last year I was diagnosed with cancer myself, during my treatment I had to pause my volunteering, but this summer I got the all clear to get back out there again and I was delighted. I personally know how important the service is to anyone going through a cancer diagnosis. On the other side, as a Volunteer Driver it provides you with a great sense of purpose when you are able to be there for people when they need it most.”