Convoy funds Illawarra Cancer Carers Patient Transport Program
5 March, 2020
The Illawarra Cancer Carers formed in 1990, with the group celebrating 30 years of service to Illawarra Cancer Patients this year.
Their mission is to provide essential physical resources, emotional and research support in order to obtain a better caring environment for Cancer Patients in the Illawarra. Comprising of over 200 unpaid volunteers, and working from the Illawarra Cancer Care Centre in a donated room, 100% of funds raised by the group are spent within the Illawarra for their services.
They also provide a transport service to transport approximately 180 cancer patients per month to and from treatment and medical appointments. The service operates from Albion Park in the South through to Helensburgh in the North. Due to lower immune systems after chemotherapy and radio therapy, often public transport is not an option for many patients using this service due to possible risk of infection and further illnesses. Patients are driven individually to appointments, and volunteer drivers wait for their appointments to finish before driving them back to their homes. To date their volunteer drivers have transported over 16,500 patients for treatment which demonstrates the huge need for the service in the region.
“For over 30 years this service been provided, via a referral from the hospital to our volunteer driving coordinators. A driver gets allocated to provide the service to the patient, collects the patient contribution, undertake the journey, and logs their mileage,’ said Illawarra Cancer Carers president Geoff Failes. “Patients are requested to pay a small nominal fee for the service usually of a few dollars, but this patient contribution does not cover the entire reimbursement of the drivers. Volunteer drivers use their own vehicles to transport cancer patients in the Illawarra and are reimbursed for their personal vehicle use.”
The cost of delivering this program is approximately $54,000 per year, which until now has been provided via fundraising by the Illawarra Cancer Carers, and individual donors such as long term Convoy supporter Alan Doherty of Doherty Transport. After a submission by the Cancer Carers to the Illawarra Community Foundation from funds raised in the i98FM Illawarra Convoy, the group received a $54,000 donation to cover the costs of this program in the region for the next twelve months. Assisting with the presentation were Bianca Stracic and Sharon Bradley from Team Dandaloo, who have raised considerable funds for Convoy over the years. With Al Doherty a founder of the team formerly known as the Dandaloo Boys, and someone who had also utilised the services of the Illawarra Cancer Carers, it was fantastic to have them there to see Convoy continue Al’s legacy of supporting such a worthwhile cause for cancer patients of all ages in the Illawarra.
“The Illawarra Cancer Carers do tremendous work within the community for cancer patients, and local hospitals. This patient transport program is vital for so many patients across the Illawarra and we are proud to carry on Al Doherty’s legacy by supporting this program with a $54,000 donation,” Said Convoy founder Marty Haynes.
This isn’t the first time Convoy have assisted the Illawarra Cancer Carers. In 2017 the group also assisted in applying for portable bladder scanners for Port Kembla Palliative Care ward, which was also funded by Illawarra Community Foundation.
“Of course we could not run this program without the support of hundreds of volunteers right across the region,” said Illawarra Cancer Carers Treasurer David Berry. “We’re all volunteers here, with a passion for helping others who are in difficult situations.” If you share that passion too, and would like to get involved, information and contact numbers can be found on the http://illawarracancercarers.org.au/ website.
Funding information for groups and charities who work with patients with potentially life threatening medical conditions is available on the www.illawarraconvoy.com.au website.