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Gas prices putting pressure on volunteer drivers for cancer patients

Last Updated May 2, 2019 at 9:02 pm PST

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Cancer patients may miss out on a ride to treatment, as volunteer driver services feel the pressure from rising gas prices.

Programs like Freemason’s Cancer Car that bring patients to and from their appointments rely on help from volunteers, but with cost of gas rising, the non-profit is struggling to keep up.

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Chairman Bill Wray says costs are up 20 per cent compared to last year, because of fuel.

“We drive over 700,000 kilometres a year with all of our vehicles,” he says. “It’s a significant issue.”

Without the service, Wray says it will mean patients would have to arrange their own transportation, which could be expensive if they rely on public transportation or taxi service.

Volunteer Doug Stevens says the program is necessary.

“They can’t take public transit, taxis are rather expensive if they have to go every day for 30 days-straight,” he says.

For Melody Huss, a volunteer driver service makes like a little easier as she continues radiation treatment for a benign tumor on her optic nerve.

“I’ve been going blind in one eye for quite some time, but it got quite a lot worse quickly,” she says.

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Without the program, patients like her wouldn’t be able to get a ride. She says the volunteer driver service makes all the difference.

“If I’m not feeling well, I’m not going to want to be driving, so I just think its great that you guys do this,” she says about the organization.