By Gord Bowes, News staff
The Canadian Cancer Society is going to start charging clients, but a Mountain charitable group will keep giving cancer patients free rides to their treatment.
“We realize that our already strained services will be impacted by this decision, but we intend to continue the free of charge service to as many clients as we can handle,” said Paul Heimpel, president of Cancer Assistance Program.
Last week, the Canadian Cancer Society announced it will begin charging a $100 registration fee for new patients in Ontario who register for the society’s transportation service after Oct. 1.
The society said it must charge so it can ensure it is able to continue helping patients with rides.
CAP, founded in 1993, offers numerous free services, from rides to medical appointments and equipment loans to special diet items and wigs.
It is able to to so do by holding numerous fundraisers throughout the year, along with personal and corporate donations. ScotiaBank and Arcelor-Mittal are major sponsors.
Heimpel said he expects requests for rides will grow following the cancer society’s announcement, but CAP will continue to offer the free rides as long as it can. It can’t service everyone, however.
“The demand is greater than we can provide,” said Heimpel.
Last year, CAP provided 3,207 free rides.
More volunteer drivers are needed, he added. They must pass a police check, are required to carry a cellphone and are paid for their mileage, though many donate their compensation back to CAP.
CAP is located at 569 Concession St. and can be reached at 905-383-9797.