George Garrett, co-founder of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society, has retired from the organization. (File photo)

George Garrett, co-founder of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society, has retired from the organization. (File photo)

Co-founder of Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society retires

Surrey’s George Garrett, who helped create the program in 2016, leaves ‘substantial’ legacy

The co-founder of the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society has hung up his keys and retired from the organization.

Surrey’s George Garrett – an award-winning reporter and author – announced his retirement, effective Aug. 31.

The cancer drivers program launched in 2016, and since then, a news release notes, the society has recruited close to 200 drivers and dispatchers to help get cancer patients to and from appointments with “free, safe, timely transportation.”

In total, the society has made 58,886 patient trips and logged more than 1.7-million kilometres.

“Put simply, it wouldn’t be possible for us to have supported so many cancer patients if it weren’t for George Garrett,” Bob Smith, president of the society, said.

“His bold vision for a level of care and support for those facing this debilitating illness, combined with his passion and energy, enabled us to grow rapidly to meet the needs of cancer patients for access to care. We will always be grateful for the legacy George shares with us and wish him the best as he steps down from his day-to-day commitments.”

While insisting that he’s not stepping away from the organization entirely – “I’m what they call a life member now,” he said – Garrett told Peace Arch News he decided to take a back seat now because he feels the society is in a solid position financially, and is in good hands moving forward.

Garrett noted that he was chiefly involved with fundraising, and with $1.3-million raised in the last four years – including enough to get the group through this year and well into 2021 – “my fundamental role was pretty much over.”

Garrett is leaving the organization with some parting gifts, however. According to the society, Garrett – who spent more than four decades in radio, primarily for CKNW – has left the society’s board with “a substantial transfer of securities” that will immediately benefit the group’s operation.

To help in the future, the release notes, Garrett has also left a “legacy pledge” in his will that is intended to be used to help launch the society’s Legacy Giving Program, which will aim to assist the cancer-driver program in staying financially sustainable well into the future.

He said he will encourage people to leave legacy pledges in their wills for the program, as he has done.

“Hopefully, they’ll have to wait awhile before they collect,” he quipped.

Garrett says the work he did with founding president Garth Pinton and the late John MacInnes was a challenge in the early stages but cancer patients and their families became aware of the service and it quickly grew from there.

While marking the society’s fourth anniversary earlier this year, Garrett told Black Press Media that the program’s growth in Surrey “has been remarkable.”

“It’s a long way from where we started,” he said at the time.

For more on the program, visit www.volunteercancerdrivers.ca



editorial@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Cancer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sports broadcaster and 30-year high school football coach Farhan Lalji. (Image via farhanlalji.com)
Farhan Lalji chats about the new B.C. high school sports governance proposal

Lalji, a 30-year high school football coach, thinks student athletes could lose out under new proposal

(Photo: MOSAIC/Facebook)
Organization receives $10K from B.C. government to tackle racism in Surrey, White Rock

Funding to go toward forum for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read