A free program taking cancer patients to appointments has racked up 100,000 kilometres travelled since beginning two years ago.
The efforts of volunteers to make the Cancer Council NSW initiative possible have now been recognised, and they will be up for a state award later this year.
Following the 2015 Relay for Life that raised $402,500, the Transport to Treatment program was launched.
Since then, the five-day-a-week program has grown to 34 volunteers and earlier this year a second car was purchased to keep up with demand.
The reach of the program has also extended from a 45-minute radius from the Border to the distance between Albury and Seymour.
Volunteer Bill Scammell said his fellow drivers, like the patients they assisted, came from all walks of life.
“This service is completely free and clients can be referred by a doctor, their carer or can contact Cancer Council NSW or the Albury-Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre,” he said.
“We travel wherever we’re required – we go out to Kiewa, Holbrook, Yarrawonga and Winton, and we even now travel to Deniliquin.”
Susie Harrington is among the longest-standing volunteers and said it was hugely rewarding.
“I’m a member of the Lavington Lions Club and we were approached when it started in August 2016 to help out,” she said.
“A number of Lions still volunteer.
“It’s a fantastic program and having been on my own cancer journey, talking to these people in the car I can empathise with them.”
The Albury Transport to Treatment Drivers was selected as the NSW Volunteer Team of the Year for the Riverina region at the state’s annual awards – they will be up for the state prize in Sydney in November.
Mr Scammell said the drivers were proud of the accolade.
“The Transport to Treatment program is unfortunately growing,” he said.
“Being named winner in our section is a recognition of what we do and our personal reward is simple – that we’re helping people and their families in need.”
Member for Albury Greg Aplin congratulated the team for their service.
“These dedicated volunteers perform a vital service by assisting patients undergoing treatment with transport support, a friendly face and a kind hand,” he said.
“I know that clients of this service greatly appreciate the support provided by these volunteers.
“The ‘Transport to Treatment – Albury’ team has brought great credit to its members and our community and I wish to pass on my gratitude and congratulation to this most deserving team.”