George Garrett — award-winning journalist, beloved community champion and a co-founder of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society has announced his retirement from the Board of the Society.
Since February 2016 when the service launched, the Society has recruited close to 200 drivers and dispatchers to drive cancer patients to and from their appointments with free, safe and timely transportation. In total, the Society has facilitated 58,886 patient trips and driven 1,730,941 kilometers: an astonishing amount given its humble but ambitious beginnings as an idea launched by three friends.
“Put simply, it wouldn’t be possible for us to have supported so many cancer patients if it weren’t for George Garrett,” explained Bob Smith, President of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society. “His bold vision for a level of care and support for those facing this debilitating illness, combined with his passion and energy, enabled us to grow rapidly to meet the needs of cancer patients for access to care. We will always be grateful for the legacy George shares with us and wish him the best as he steps down from his day-to-day commitments.”
Garrett leaves the Board with parting gifts: a substantial transfer of securities will benefit the current drive for funding operations now and a Legacy Pledge in his Will to lead the Society’s launch of the Legacy Giving Program, designed to assist the VCDS in the creation of a sustainable financial future.
Donations such as these ensure that cancer patients across the fifteen communities in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley will continue to have access to free, reliable and safe transportation to their cancer treatments.
Of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society’s services, one cancer survivor shared, “I had no way to get to my treatments and no money to take a taxi. Before hearing about your wonderful service, I was very depressed. You relieved an enormous burden. All my drivers were wonderful and caring. You helped save my life.”
Garrett says working with Founding President Garth Pinton and the late John MacInnes was a challenge in the early stages but cancer patients and their families as well as the general public became aware of our service and it began to grow.
As well as providing free rides for hundreds of patients our volunteer drivers and dispatchers developed a bond with patients, providing them with the assurance that we would always be there for them. Garrett added, “Thanks to donations from many sources in our first five years we know we’ll be there for cancer patients for years to come.”
The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society is a free service that lessens the burdens of cancer patients in the Lower Mainland.
Founded in 2016, and entirely volunteer-run, the Society drives patients who otherwise have no access to private transportation to and from treatment appointments, providing both essential support and peace-of-mind. Volunteers make more than 20,000 trips every year, in addition to supporting more than 25 per cent of the Society’s overall annual budget through donations.
Areas served include: Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, New Westminster, the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody).
Learn more at: www.volunteercancerdrivers.ca.