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Volunteer drivers help Donegal cancer patients 16.08.17

FORTY-THREE Donegal patients availed of a free transport service last year that helped them attend more than 380 chemotherapy appointments.
The figures show that 37 drivers travelled a distance of 58,751km to help patients under the Volunteer Driver Service run by the Irish Cancer Society.
This is a free transport service and is available to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment in Letterkenny University Hospital and Sligo General Hospital.
Irish Cancer Society patient travel and financial support manager Gail Flinter said: “The Volunteer Driver Service allows cancer patients access to free transport to and from their chemotherapy treatments, removing the stress, difficulty and financial burden of travelling at a challenging time. This is a local service with local drivers driving local patients to and from their treatments.
“There are a number of reasons why a cancer patient may need to use the Volunteer Driver Service. They may have been advised by their doctor not to drive due to the nature of the treatment, the patient may have no family in the immediate vicinity or family members or friends may be unable to take time off work to transport them to treatment. Equally, patients living miles from the main arterial route have to source taxis to nearest town, avail of a bus service and then a taxi from the bus station to the hospital. In any of these cases, it is really important to know that there is free, confidential and easily accessible support out there. It lessens the stress and worry of getting to and from treatment,” she added.
Local volunteer driver Danny McNamee from Ballintra in Donegal has been a volunteer driver for several years and enjoys helping out in his spare time.
“Before I became a volunteer I had to complete a training programme, sign confidentiality agreements and undertake all of the relevant clearance checks, including Garda vetting, so it’s good for the patients to know that it’s a very thorough process.
“I would encourage any cancer patients from the Donegal area, or their family and friends, struggling with transport issues to look into the service as it could turn out to be a really helpful support to them during a difficult time. I see first-hand just how much families appreciate the support.”
The service is available in 22 hospitals nationwide with the Society’s 1,162 drivers bringing 1,226 patients to and from 11,538 appointments, covering over 1.1 million kilometres in 2016 alone. For more information call 01 2310 522, email transport@irishcancer.ie or log on to www.cancer.ie .
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