The Canadian Cancer Society is searching for volunteers willing to offer their free time, kindness, and compassion for the Wheels of Hope volunteer driver program.
Wheels of Hope runs all over Ontario – including Stittsville and the area – operating Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Locally, the program transports people to Ottawa for life-saving cancer treatment. There are multiple reasons people might need to access this service. Some people should not be driving after their cancer treatment, while others may not drive or have a car, nor have friends or family members nearby who are able to drive them.
Mark Kahan from Wheels of Hope Volunteer Recruitment states, “A cancer diagnosis doesn’t just affect the individual, it can affect their whole family. Some patients have to go for radiation, Monday to Friday for up to 6 weeks. That is a lot of time to ask someone who has a full-time job.” Sadly, some people who are unable to find transportation simply give up and don’t go to their appointments.
Wheels of Hope is currently in desperate need of volunteer drivers in Stittsville, as well as the surrounding areas, to drive cancer patients to their appointments at the Ottawa Hospital on Smyth Road.
The program currently has five volunteers in Stittsville, but only two are available at the moment. “The demand for the program is much higher so if we were to get 10 people in Stittsville/surrounding areas, that would cover the demand and take pressure off our current available volunteers,” says Mark
The role of the volunteer is very different from a taxi driver. Mark explains, “Our volunteers are offering their free time, kindness and compassion, the real magic happens in the conversations on the way to the hospital and home. Our volunteers get to meet people from all walks of life and the heartfelt appreciation of a stranger helping them is really felt from the client.” Wheels of Hope has received lots of positive feedback from both patients and volunteers:
“I don’t know what I would have done without this program”
“The volunteers make me smile and take so much stress off my shoulders”
“My family members work everyday and they can’t take time off work so this has really helped me and my family”
“The decision to volunteer was simple – my wife and I have enjoyed a nice life in this community and want to pay it back through volunteering. As a volunteer driver for Wheels of Hope, I have something rewarding that keeps me busy and lets me meet so many nice people.”
Volunteers are offered a mileage reimbursement ($0.35/km) or can take a tax receipt as well and donate back to the program. All volunteers are required to: have a valid driver’s license with 3 or less demerits; operate a 100% smoke-free, clean, and well-maintained vehicle; be willing to undergo a criminal background check; be at least double vaccinated; and wear a mask in the vehicle (as will the client). To sign up, go to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Wheels of Hope page. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-939-3333.