BIG HEART: Westbrook man Ian Schneider volunteers at the Cancer Council Queensland's Volunteer Transport Service on Wednesdays.
BIG HEART: Westbrook man Ian Schneider volunteers at the Cancer Council Queensland's Volunteer Transport Service on Wednesdays.

Volunteer loses wife to cancer, now transports patients

THE fight against cancer is filled with logistical and financial worries - a burden that a dedicated team of Toowoomba drivers aims to ease.

This year volunteers have donated hundreds of hours to Cancer Council Queensland's Volunteer Transport Service by transporting 1275 passengers around the city.

The service enables cancer patients staying at Olive McMahon Lodge to attend their appointments and treatments on time, every day.

Westbrook man Ian Schneider has been a Cancer Council Queensland bus driver for five years.

"I lost my wife to cancer 24 years ago and back then a bus service like this wasn't available (so) we had to travel four-and-a-half hours for her treatment," he said.

"The idea is to remove some of the stress and strain for patients travelling from the lodge to the hospital where they are receiving treatment.

"It's a service that is much-needed, as many of the people who use it are from out of town and this way they don't have to worry about traffic, directions or parking.

"I volunteer on Wednesdays - it's only one day out of a week and it's a chance to meet other people.

"We might give our time, but we receive a fair bit of thanks and personal satisfaction in being able to help others."

Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said volunteers like Mr Schneider made a huge difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

"Since Olive McMahon Lodge opened five years ago, south-west Queensland families have been provided with 14,711 nights of accommodation, 2490 bus trips to and from treatment and 1155 counselling support sessions," she said.

"We rely on our volunteers and community support to ensure that the patient experience at Olive McMahon Lodge is a positive one and part of that means taking care of every-day needs like transport.

"We simply could not do what we do without the spirit, determination, and enthusiasm of our volunteers. You don't need a specific skill set to make a difference - all you need is a big heart and a bit of spare time."

Residents interested can visit the Be Involved section at cancerqld.org.au.



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