Driver scheme lifts spirits of cancer patients

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

OVER 120 drivers in the Mid-West have volunteered to bring patients to chemotherapy at the regional cancer centre in Dooradoyle.

OVER 120 drivers in the Mid-West have volunteered to bring patients to chemotherapy at the regional cancer centre in Dooradoyle.

Care to Drive is a free service run by the Irish Cancer Society and has been operating in this region since March. The charity has expressed its delight with the response of volunteers in Limerick and the wider region - and is now appealing to chemotherapy patients to avail of the scheme.

Gail Flinter, Irish Cancer Society, said there were many reasons why patients would need help to get to and from hospital appointments.

“Patients with aggressive cancers can have very busy treatment schedules and they are often advised not to drive. And it is often inadvisable to get on public transport where people have compromised immune systems, ” Ms Flinter said.

“Another issue, especially in the current economic climate, is where relatives simply can’t take time off work any more. You can imagine going to your employer and asking for a day off once in a fortnight or however often it may be.”

Other patients might be living on their own with little immediate family support, while poor public transport in rural areas make it more difficult to make appointments.

William Sheehan, from Clareview, said he was delighted to sign up having seen a flyer for Care to Drive at mass.

“It’s no skin off my nose, I have plenty of time on my hands,” said the 66-year-old retiree.

“In helping somebody, you are helping society as a whole and it helps me feel good about myself too, ” he added.

Patients interested in the service can speak to their oncology nurse or social worker or contact 061 482896.