THE Leukaemia Foundation is urgently seeking volunteers to help transport patients to appointments in the Mandurah and Peel region.
When a blood cancer diagnosis is made, treatment often needs to start within 24 hours and can last from months to several years.
Support services manager Frankie Bird said treatment was often very aggressive and meant patients could not drive immediately afterwards.
“Volunteer drivers pick up patients from home and take them to and from appointments at Peel Health Campus and Perth treating hospitals, ensuring their essential treatment no matter their financial position or family support network,’’ he said.
“Our volunteer drivers really are local heroes. They provide a service which is core to the mission of the Leukaemia Foundation: to support blood cancer patients through treatment and help them live better lives.’’
One such local hero is Mandurah woman Mary Wiggers.
Ms Wiggers has been a volunteer driver for the Leukaemia Foundation for nearly four years, following her own experience with the Foundation’s services after her husband was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
She drives patients and their carers to and from treatment every other Wednesday in the Leukaemia Foundation patient transport vehicle.
“My husband was diagnosed while we were on holiday in France and had to begin treatment immediately,’’ she said.
“We had to stay in Paris for a month while he underwent the first rounds of chemotherapy before being allowed to return home.
“When we arrived home, life was turned upside down.
“I had to finish work to care for my husband and that was when we came into contact with the Leukaemia Foundation.
“They supported us through the process, giving us information about my husband’s disease and helping us out when we needed to get to appointments.
“The girls at the Leukaemia Foundation were so good to us, I felt I wanted to give something back.”
Every second Wednesday, Ms Wiggers volunteers her time.
The Leukaemia Foundation is looking for volunteers who can offer one day a week, starting at 8am, with last pick-up at 3.30pm or help for a full day on a casual basis.
Volunteer on 1800 620 420.