“It made a difficult decision logical” – Ray’s transport service story
“It was the difference between having treatment or potentially hanging on without it.”
We never want travel worries to be a barrier to anyone accessing treatment which could potentially change, or even save, someone’s life.
But declining treatment could have been the case for 70-year-old Ray, from Walton in Chesterfield, had it not been for our transport service, which has provided him with free, safe travel to and from his 20 appointments for radiotherapy treatment in Sheffield.
When Ray was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December 2021, his primary concern wasn’t the diagnosis itself – it was managing his treatment and travel for appointments and the stress that may cause his family during what would potentially be a worrying time.
However, after a brief conversation with Diane in our team, Ray had been booked onto our free Chesterfield transport service, which runs to and from the University of Derby’s St. Helena Campus on Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, twice a day.
Ray used the Weston Park Cancer Charity transport service to get to and from Weston Park for 20 appointments, every day for four weeks – a combined total of more than 500 miles. He was full of praise for the service and the difference it made.
“The transport service makes what would be a very difficult process a lot easier,” said Ray.
“Before Christmas, I spent an awfully long time deciding whether or not I was going to go through treatment. My cancer is advanced, so I had three options – and a big part of the decision process was ‘how on earth am I gonna get there? What’s that going to do to me and my family?’
“It’s a big commitment what with getting lifts in or parking. But when I found out about the charity and its transport service, the difficult decision was made logical.”
For Ray, the transport service has also been more than just a means of getting from A to B. He also made friends during his time on our minibus – clicking with one fellow passenger, Ian, in particular.
“Myself and Ian have just clicked,” said Ray.
“Without it sounding a bit odd, it’s been quite enjoyable. The people are just brilliant.
“One of the things I want to get across to people who are going through cancer is to use this service. By not using it, you miss out on such a lot – not just in terms of free transport, but the information sharing and the social aspect, too.
“The Charity Hub is such a relaxing place – you can come back from treatment, have a tea or coffee and relax for a little while before you head home. And you don’t have to face any of the traffic or parking issues.”
Ian, 75 and also from Chesterfield, agrees. He, too, was going through treatment for prostate cancer at Weston Park, and travelling on the bus each morning with Ray.
“The transport service makes such a difference,” said Ian.
“In my time on the service I’ll have saved a huge amount of money on parking and travel – not to mention the ease of access to Weston Park and the enjoyable experience of being on the bus and waiting in the Charity Hub.
“It’s been brilliant, absolutely brilliant. It takes away all the pressure of having to drive from Chesterfield to Sheffield. You can sit, relax and chat and it makes a difference.
“From being told you’ve got cancer to the first person you meet, everybody’s been the same. They have that calming sense, that you feel that everything’s going to be alright.”
Ray added: “Using the transport and coming to the Charity Hub has become the highlight of my day. It wouldn’t be weird to suggest that I’d miss it when my treatment is finished – it'd be quite accurate.
“There is no stress when using the buses. The drivers are brilliant. They’re all lovely people and we have a laugh, which can be a real help when you’re going through something like cancer treatment.”
In other news...
We are taking over Oakwell Stadium on Saturday as Barnsley F.C. take on Derby County, as part of our Together At Every Step partnership.
In September 2023, we launched our huge ‘Big Purple Bus’ project which has already helped hundreds of people within our communities to access expert advice around available cancer support.