Cancer Connect Service is a free and flexible transport service to Cork Hospitals from West Cork for people receiving radiotherapy, chemotherapy and related treatments. The project was born when a group of concerned citizens in Skibbereen became aware of a number of cancer patients who found it difficult to access transport each day to Cork. Cancer Connect was launched in April 2011.
Each vehicle is driven on a voluntary basis. Volunteers have come forward from communities across West Cork, giving a day per month driving a passenger to Cork for treatment. Communities promote and support the service in their own area, ensuring that locals are aware of the transport opportunities, and also in recruiting further volunteers. Community ownership ensures the sustainability of the service –creating a local panel of drivers ensures that a transport request from someone in Castletownbere can be facilitated within the community. The service is free for everyone. It’s a cost-free service for the community, by the community.
There are 2 aspects to the service;
1. A radiotherapy service operates Monday to Friday leaving from both Goleen and Castletownbere. Each vehicle can carry up to 8 passengers. Each route has a set timetable with pick up times and points scheduled. Each vehicle arrives in Cork University Hospital by 12pm, and each passenger receives treatment and is en route home within the hour.
2. The second service available is for passengers receiving chemotherapy, or related appointments (such as scans, blood tests, Doctor appointments etc.). In this case, the passenger is collected from home, and brought to Cork in the driver’s car, at the individuals scheduled appointment time. This is a one to one service, recognising the vulnerability of a passenger receiving chemotherapy and also the need for flexible times. In terms of geography, passengers from across West Cork may access the transport; passengers hail from a range of areas including Bantry, Dunmanway, Union Hall, Timoleague, Ballingeary, Drinagh, Baltimore, Adrigole, Allihies.
All Services are provided to the passenger free of charge. West Cork Rural Transport provides administration and staffs the service. Operational costs are met by contributions, donations and fundraising.
Cancer Connect in Numbers:
- To date, the service has been on the road for almost 4 years. To date…
- 6, 000 +- number of single trips made to Cork Hospitals
- 12,000+ – number of passenger journeys
- 385,000 +– approximate number of Kilometres travelled