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BC Cancer Agency tells volunteer drivers to halt pickups

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Mar 17, 2020 at 3:00 pm PDT

George McAffer, Larry Coleman and, George Garrett of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society, which is suspending service due to COVID-19. (Orrie Babiuk, Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society)
Summary

Some drivers are upset by the decision to suspend appointments

Many drivers are also seniors who would be putting themselves at risk

Hope among them is that decision is temporary

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC Cancer Agency is asking all volunteer drivers to stop picking up and dropping off patients to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

George Garrett, with the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society, said many drivers are also seniors who would be putting themselves at risk if the service continued.

“We love to be with the people,” Garrett said. “We get to know and we know that we’re giving back.”

The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society is a not-for-profit organization providing free, safe, timely and efficient transportation to and from cancer related medical appointments throughout the Lower Mainland.

Garrett adds some drivers are used to transporting up to three patients a day and are upset by the decision to suspend appointments.

“I’ve been will this right from the beginning,” Garrett said. “I was just heartsick about it because I know what it means to these people and to our patients and their drivers.”

Garrett said the collective hope is the suspension of the driver service is temporary, although some want to continue.

“Even though they know that they’re dealing with elderly patients and they themselves are for the most part retired people, so there is a risk,” Garrett said of drivers, “but many of them were willing to take it. You know that’s how strongly they feel about their patients.”