Drivers needed for cancer patient transport bus

Friends of Florence is seeking new drivers.

This free bus service, for cancer patients who are receiving radiation treatment, operates Monday through Friday, all year long.

A driver’s shift requires approximately five hours, from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

Volunteers typically drive once per month.

The Friends’ bus is a 14-passenger vehicle. A commercial driver’s license is not required.

“It’s about the same size as a small RV,” said Bart Mealer, Chief Operating Officer for the organization.

As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has taken several steps to help ensure the safety and health of drivers and passengers. Some of these steps are:

• All passengers including the driver will wear face coverings while on the bus.

• Everyone will have their temperatures taken prior to boarding the bus.

• Number of passengers on the bus is limited to four. This allows for 6 feet of physical distancing.

• The bus will be cleaned and sanitized daily at the end of each trip. 

“Cancer patients have to travel to Eugene or Springfield daily for these radiation treatments — it’s 160 miles roundtrip from Florence,” added Mealer.” Riding the bus helps ease the stress during this difficult time.”

For more than 34 years the Friends of Florence, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has transported patients roundtrip from Florence to the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and to the Oregon Urology Institute.

The bus leaves from Peace Harbor Hospital and, when requested, has pick-up locations in Mapleton and Veneta.

The Friends maintain about 22 active drivers.

“Riding the bus also offers companionship for patients who are making this trip every day. It shows them that they’re not alone,” said Mealer. “It’s a traveling support group.”

If you are interested in driving for the Friends of Florence, contact Bart Mealer at 541-997-8663.


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