Travelling to and from medical appointments is difficult for many people affected by cancer.  Cancer treatment usually occurs over an extended period of time and requires repeated attendance at facilities which may be far from home. Radiotherapy, in particular requires daily attendance for up to six weeks and a common side effect is fatigue so appropriate travel options to health services are vital.

Cancer Council Western Australia helps people affected by cancer travel to treatment and support is provided in four ways:

  • Grant funding support is given to local community transport providers
  • Cancer Council WA owned vehicles are operated externally with Cancer Council volunteers
  • Cancer Council WA owned and operated services with Cancer Council volunteers
  • Cancer Council WA volunteers using their personal vehicles

Jennie Loveridge, Cancer Council WA Volunteer Development Manager:

“The Cancer Council Transport to Treatment program is one of our most important volunteer activities and carries with it very special responsibilities: driving cancer patients to and from medical treatment centres. Our commitment to safe driving is crucial and we are proud to have been free of any serious incidents for many years.

However, we recognise that road and traffic conditions are becoming more challenging, particularly in the Perth metropolitan area. We have an obligation to ensure that all volunteer drivers have an opportunity to enhance their driving skills for the benefit of our patients and general road safety. It is also part of our compliance with the National Standards for Involving Volunteers in Not-For-Profit Organisations and our commitment to providing the best possible service to cancer patients and their families.

We have been able to provide this training thanks to the RAC’s Community Sponsorships program. We are very appreciative of RAC’s support for our volunteer program and safe driving.”

20 Cancer Council WA volunteers attended the Driver Enhancement course at the RAC DTEC facility at the Perth International Airport, WA’s only purpose-built driver training facility and RAC DTEC South West’s training facility in Bunbury.  The half day course is designed to provide a better understanding of a driver’s capabilities and the limitations of their own vehicle. The practical component provides firsthand experience in the principles of driver behaviour and vehicle dynamics.

Susan Johnston is a Cancer Council WA Volunteer who attended the training:

“This is a really worthwhile course, if nothing else the course gives an increased consciousness of your driving and you become more aware and mindful of driving in varying traffic and weather conditions. The main thing is the importance of getting off auto-pilot when you’re behind the wheel. I would recommend the course to everyone; colleagues, family and friends. The braking exercises which give a real appreciation of speed should make this course mandatory, especially to young or new drivers.”

Kevin Prunster is another Volunteer who also attended:

“We had a really good time; the fellas couldn’t do enough for us, they were great. It was nice to confirm the things I was doing right, but it was good to refresh myself on stopping distances and the difference a wet road can make. Changing a wheel is a skill everyone needs and it was good to sharpen up on road rules. Thanks to the RAC for funding the training, I could see that everyone in our group really benefitted from it. Thanks again”.

RAC launched its Community Sponsorships program in 2011 to empower communities across WA to deliver unique and enriching initiatives.  To date RAC has provided more than $850,000 in sponsorship to over 130 initiatives across the State.