In the driving seat to support cancer patients

In the driving seat to support cancer patients
“I just saw it written up somewhere and said ‘I’m going to do that’”, Margaret Hayden explains.

“I just saw it written up somewhere and said ‘I’m going to do that’”, Margaret Hayden explains.

The Longford woman is one of a number of drivers from around the country who take part in the Volunteer Driver Service for the Irish Cancer Society.

Now the Society is appealing for more Longford volunteers to come forward and Margaret certainly feels it is a rewarding venture.

Explaining that she feels it’s an honour to provide the ‘invaluable’ service, she adds, “God love these people. They’re getting their treatment, they’re really sick and if they have to think about transport, it’s not fair to them.”

Since approximately 2012, Longford drivers (of which there are currently 25) have brought 23 patients to more than 300 appointments, racking up an incredible 52,000km.

Margaret has been a volunteer driver for more than two years now, and despite her own health issues is eager to continue her work as long as she can.

Over the past two years, Margaret has made countless trips to and from Galway University Hospital; Portiuncula Hospital; the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore; and St James’ and the Mater Hospitals in Dublin.

Unfortunately, poor health makes the trips increasingly difficult for Margaret, but she is determined to continue and has even changed her car to make the journeys more bearable.

Margaret enjoys helping and has always been a volunteer in some capacity down through the years.

She is now encouraging Longford people to sign up and help the Irish Cancer Society to continue to provide this necessary service.

“I can’t emphasise it enough, we really do need volunteers to come along from all walks of life,” Margaret said, pointing out that, “none of us know when we might need the service ourselves.”

Treatments can take up to six hours, and though a number of patients have someone there to support them, many go alone.

This service not only takes the worry of transport out of the equation, but it provides some much-needed company and comfort at a very difficult time.

“You know you’re helping somebody who absolutely needs your help,” Margaret added.

“If we don’t get volunteers to do the driving, they’re not going to be taken to appointments.

“Please, think of how worthy it would be to give a little bit of your valuable time to someone else.”

The Irish Cancer Society continue to search for volunteers for their Volunteer Driver Service, particularly now as the scheme is set to expand to include Mayo General Hospital and Cavan General Hospital.

For more information or to sign up, contact Rebecca at 01 2316 642 or email transport@irishcancer.ie.