People should not have to worry about support for things like appointments or overnight trips to visit doctors while dealing with a cancer diagnosis and South Central Cancer Resource is wants to make sure those looking for help can get it.
“Our biggest program is our driving program and what we do is help clients get from their home to Winnipeg, Boundary Trails or Brandon, really wherever the doctor or specialists happen to be,” said Deb Thiessen, Program Coordinator at South Central Cancer Resource. “Anyone can qualify, it doesn’t matter what income you make or what your status is, a lot of people don’t have the friend base or the support system in their community or don’t know where to go, so that’s where we come in.”
South Central Cancer Resource covers a large region. Their reach extends from Emerson/Morris to Cartwright, Carman and Manitou.
“We have a driver coordinator in each location, but right now we’re missing them in Miami – especially – and Roland,” she explained. “Right now I don’t have any drivers in Roland or Miami, so I’ve had to shuffle from Morden and Winkler to provide trips for some people. People can get in touch with us at 822-9541 or our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
When a client comes to us, they register through South Central,” said Thiessen. “After registration, we give the names over to the driver coordinator and that client just needs to call and a ride will be worked out.”
The organization has been using drivers out of the Winkler/Morden area to cover for the rides in the Miami/Roland area. Mileage is paid to drivers offering their service.
“Some clients want to drive themselves or have family drive them,” added Thiessen. “We support them as well, though, but the driver still needs to be registered. It just means a criminal record check is done and confidentiality is a big factor for us as well.”
The bond between drivers and clients can become strong as clients may be going through their struggle alone. Thiessen says in the past, people in rural areas were opting out of treatment because they didn’t have a ride or couldn’t afford to get to their doctor or specialist. And even if they had a ride, they couldn’t afford it.
“Our goal is that patients have rides to where they need to go to get the support they need,” she said. “We have grown, we have a few different programs and we try to help in any way we can. We don’t get any funding of any kind other than grants that we have to apply for. Curl for Cancer in Carman, a huge supporter of ours, they raise a big chunk of money for us.”
Foundations and philanthropy groups from around the area are a big funder of the group as well.
It doesn’t take much to become a driver as volunteers do not have to change their insurance as it is not technically a paid position. For more information visit https://sccr.mb.ca/ or contact the organization at 822-9541.