Canadian Cancer Society running dangerously low on volunteer drivers

09 October 2013

Edmonton -

Update: We’re grateful for the overwhelming response we’ve received from people interested in volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society as a driver. It’s heartwarming to see so many individuals step up to help cancer patients in their community. We’re pleased to let you know we believe we have enough new drivers to meet demand. If you’re interested in any other volunteer opportunities with the Society or providing a financial contribution to our support programs, please call 1-800-661-2262.

As crucial as her medical teams is, Angela Roswell says there’s another dedicated group that is helping her fight back against cancer – Canadian Cancer Society volunteer drivers who transport her to and from her treatment.

“They may not be doctors, but they are helping me survive,” says the Edmontonian.

Roswell, 41, was shocked when she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in August 2010. She quickly underwent surgery, followed by radiation and ongoing chemotherapy. While she has the support of her family and friends, Roswell is hesitant to ask her loved ones for rides to treatment.

“Having to ask people to take you to treatment on a regular basis makes you feel like you’re burdening them,” she says.

Treatment leaves Roswell too tired to drive, so she started getting to and from her appointments by taking public transit. But Roswell knew she needed to find an alternative ride the first time she got sick on the bus coming home from treatment. Her doctor told her about the Canadian Cancer Society Volunteer Driver Program – a service she’s been using ever since.

“Without the volunteer drivers, I honestly do not know how I’d be getting to appointments,” Roswell says. “It’s nice to know I have a safe ride there, a safe ride home and they genuinely do care.”

Like Roswell, many people living with cancer in and around Edmonton rely on the Volunteer Driver Program to get to their treatments. In 2012, Society drivers dedicated nearly 11,000 volunteer hours to provide rides to more than 1,100 cancer patients in Edmonton and nearby cities: St. Albert, Sherwood Park and Leduc.

But with growing demand for this service – which is offered free-of-charge thanks to the generosity of donors – the Society is running dangerously low on volunteer drivers.

“We are struggling to accommodate all the requests we’re receiving for rides,” says Kim Matthews, Volunteer Driver Program Coordinator with the Society. “We’re asking the people of Edmonton and nearby communities to make a tremendous difference to cancer patients in your community by joining our dedicated team of volunteer drivers.”

The Society needs at least 25 more people in and around Edmonton who can volunteer as a driver even one weekday per week.

Connie Kozyra of Sherwood Park has been volunteering as a driver since January 2012. She says the Society makes the driving schedule simple and the remuneration for mileage and gas is quite appropriate. But more importantly, she says the work is uplifting.

“The people we drive are sick but they’re really brave and hopeful,” says Kozyra. “But they do get better because you’re helping them.”

Kozyra referred one friend to the program as a volunteer driver and she hopes more people in the city sign up soon as well. So does Roswell.

“Some of the drivers will shrug off the difference they’re making and say: ‘It’s just a ride,’” says Roswell. “But it’s so much more than that. You’re taking time out of your day to drive a perfect stranger to an appointment they need to survive. I am so thankful for all that these drivers do.”

Patients in and around Edmonton desperately need your help getting to treatment. Call 1-800-661-2262 or email for more information and to sign up as a volunteer driver.

About the Volunteer Driver Program

The Canadian Cancer Society Volunteer Driver Program gives cancer patients one less thing to worry about. Thanks to the kindness and support of volunteers who donate their time and vehicles, patients know they always have a safe, reliable and free ride to and from treatment. The Volunteer Driver Program is offered in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

For 75 years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. We are working together with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Paula Trotter

Communications Coordinator

Phone: 403-541-2339