Tauranga-based volunteer driver, Jocelyn Rooney, says the honour is all hers when it comes to getting Cancer Society clients to and from treatment and medical appointments.
“I’ve met the most interesting and lovely people who are each on their own cancer journey, making the most of things, and reminding me every day of how much enjoyment there is to be had in getting to know and support others”.
As a career nurse and Meals on Wheels volunteer for more than four decades, Jocelyn has seen time and again the support people get from volunteers, and the difference it makes.
“When I retired from nursing after 51 years, I realised very quickly that I missed the regular contact and company of people. I thought to myself, what can I do? I’ve helped family members and people close to me who have been on cancer journeys and that, combined with my nursing experience, led me to the Cancer Society.”
The Cancer Society’s volunteer driving service provides free transport for people with cancer so they can get to and from medical appointments and treatment in Tauranga.
“For me, it’s about understanding where people are coming from and providing whatever encouragement is needed at any given time. Sometimes you chat, sometimes you need to be a listening ear or a sounding board, and sometimes it’s about not talking at all if that’s what people prefer.
“I think I’m lucky to be able to make a small difference to people’s lives and to be able to give back through the Cancer Society. The people I meet are an inspiration and I enjoy the comradery I have with my clients as well as with the other volunteers.”
One of Jocelyn’s regular clients is Debbie Mitchell, who she drives to weekly support groups, the gym and oncology appointments.
Debbie says the assistance she gets on her cancer journey from volunteers like Jocelyn is incredibly helpful.
“Jocelyn has a heart of gold and does so much for me. She seems to always know what to say and do and is always so supportive.
“I can’t believe what Jocelyn and the Cancer Society do for us. I’m so grateful for all the volunteers. There’s a lot we wouldn’t be able to do without them.”