LEUKAEMIA patients in the northern region will have their lives made a little easier following the launch of a new transport service yesterday.
The Leukaemia Foundation service – the first in the region – is based in Tamworth and will transport patients not well enough to drive themselves to and from appointments.
The car was purchased with a grant of $25,750 from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.
Leukaemia Foundation general manager Chris McMillan said the car would serve not only patients in Tamworth, but across the wider region – an area within a three-hour radius of Tamworth, although it could make longer trips on occasion.
The foundation is seeking 12 volunteers to drive the car and expects it will be on the road in the next couple of weeks.
Mandy Curran, a local Leukaemia Foundation volunteer – and a patient in remission with lymphoma – said it would be of “huge benefit” to blood cancer patients to be able to get to appointments without having to rely on family and friends.
She said funds raised locally had previously gone towards support services in the cities and that money would now stay locally to run the car.
“We’re actually raising money here for local people, which I think is important,” Mrs Curran said.
Ms McMillan said the foundation decided to increase its presence in the region in response to the growing cancer services in Tamworth, including the North West Cancer Centre. She said the service would come under significant demand when the cancer centre opened early next year.
Charitable Foundation acting chairman Barrie Lewis said there were a lot of applications to its last round of funding, but the Leukaemia Foundation’s proposal for transport services fitted in with the ethos of the organisation.
Support for blood cancer patients in the region will be boosted again soon with a support services coordinator to be employed in Tamworth.
The co-ordinator will extend the foundation’s services in the area to counselling, education and financial assistance.