Two of the 6 CLAN support volunteer drivers in Morayshire are still working hard to help cancer patients access treatments in Aberdeen, Inverness and Elgin.
David Paterson and Martin Douglas who live in Cullen are volunteer drivers and work with CLAN Cancer Services Area Manager Tracy Sellar to coordinate pick-ups across Morayshire to take people to Aberdeen, Raigmore and Dr Gray’s for appointments, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
During the coronavirus lockdown, David has continued to offer his time selflessly allowing this vital service to continue. CLAN and David are taking all necessary steps to ensure that effective social distancing measures are maintained, and all hygiene measures are adhered to in order to minimise and risk of infection.
As soon as he has dropped off the client, David sets about his second deep clean of the car or van that day. He then waits patiently for the client to return from their appointment, collecting them from the grounds of the hospital, before embarking on their homeward journey.
David said: “I’ve been working for CLAN as a volunteer for two years and I really enjoy it.
“I like to drive and get out and about and it is always interesting to talk with people on the long drive. I can pick up anywhere in Moray so it can often be a long day before I am back home again to Cullen.”
CLAN’s main centre in Aberdeen has closed temporarily due to the pandemic, so David and Martin now take their own lunch and flask of tea when heading out for the day.
David said: “Before lockdown I would go into CLAN in Aberdeen whilst my passenger was having treatments, and there was always a friendly face, but for the time being I take a book or newspaper and before I know it, we are heading home.”
Despite the often six-hour days, David enjoys the two or three days per week he spends driving.
“After retiring, I wanted to volunteer to help in the community and this is ideal for me. Sometimes my passengers want to talk about cancer and sometimes they don’t. It’s up to them as I never mention it. I think that chatting to me can be a welcome distraction of upcoming appointments.”
Tracy Sellar, CLAN Cancer Services Area Manager, said: We are so grateful to David and our other volunteer drivers. Without the transportation we offer people would have to spend hours on buses and trains, which often made a day-trip impossible. This service also recognises that the client group that require the transport can at times be in the “vulnerable” category in relation to COVID-19 therefore the use of public transport increases their anxiety around potential risk of infection. This service minimises the individuals contact with others in a way no other transport service could ensure at present.
“Meeting consultants and undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy can be very worrying, so we are lucky to have our drivers who make life that little bit easier. CLAN has recently launched a new appeal for funds, after having to cancel its major fundraising events.
David added; “I urge everyone in Morayshire to donate £10 or whatever they can afford to CLAN. The services are provided free of charge and the charity relies entirely upon donations. Every £10 donated will help to make sure we can continue to offer this important, local service.”
Stay up to date on with Clan on our social media channels
Clan offers free support to anyone affected by cancer in north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland. Please help support us.
Sign up to receive our regular newsletter where you will find a mix of news and information from across all areas.