Speaking of the volunteer drivers, Aoife says:
“They are the nicest people in the world. We met such a range of personalities – all with such interesting backgrounds. They give an outlet to the person going through treatment. Everything about cancer is traumatic, but those chats with the volunteer drivers added a bit of normality and joy to what was a very mundane experience on a good day, and a terrible experience on a bad day.”
In 2017, Aoife Brady’s dad, John, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a type of bone marrow cancer. Although he lived in Inchicore, a stone’s throw away from James’s Hospital where he was receiving treatment, getting to and from his appointments was a major issue.
“Dad couldn’t walk, and neither Mam (Breda) or I could drive. The bus isn’t an option when you are that sick, so we had to take private transport.”
That was when they discovered the Irish Cancer Society Volunteer Driver service. It’s a free service providing transportation to patients undergoing chemotherapy in our partner hospitals nationwide, and for patients undergoing radiotherapy in Cork.
Fondly remembering her dad, John, Aoife says:
Dad was the ultimate messer, he loved a joke and had a terrible sense of humour. He worked as an electrician for most of his life, but was really passionate about the arts. He was involved in a number of amateur theatre societies; he really loved musical theatre, especially Stephen Sondheim.
He was a very sociable creature, and loved having the chats with the drivers – you couldn’t shut him up! It gave us a break too.”
Sadly, John died in 2019, aged 71.
Aoife encourages anyone going through cancer to reach out to the Irish Cancer Society for support.
“Pick up the phone. It is so straightforward, and it takes the burden off you. They are so helpful at the Irish Cancer Society – from practical support, like getting to and from appointments, to mental health support like free counselling.”
For more information
1800 200 700