By David F. Rooney
It’s not every day that someone gives Ginger Shoji a whopping big cheque but when they do — as the Revelstoke Credit Union staff did on Thursday — she is truly grateful.
“I’m continually overwhelmed at the generosity of the people who support the Cancer Support Group and believe in what we’e doing,” she said while having a coffee afterwards. “People really care.”
Yes, they do.
Ginger points to not just the Credit Union staff who gave her $570 this week, but the folks at Team Gloria who raised $2,000 for the group last month and the Knights of Pythias who regularly kick in between $1,500 and $2,000.
“Without help from Team Gloria and the Pythians we’d be hard-pressed to do what we do,” she said.
And just what does the Cancer Support Group do?
Well a lot more than lunches at the Hillcrest and the 112 every month.
The group uses the money it raises to help cancer patients who don’t have vehicles or who can no longer drive get to their cancer clinic appointments in Salmon Arm, Vernon and Kelowna. Last month, seven people needed transportation to and from their appointments. The volunteers who drive them in their own cars receive gas money as well as a meal. All of that can run to about $100 a trip. None of that money comes from official source. — all of it is provided by the Cancer Support Group’s supporters.
“All our drivers are within the support group with exception of a few,” Ginger said. “Recently, Exclusive Mountain Transfers Ltd. has generously come on board when their schedules can accommodate. The driver donates his time and the company donates the vehicle and fuel.”
The support group also helps those who are on fixed incomes pay for accommodations in those cities when their treatments run over the course of two, three, or more days. And it even helps where it can when someone’s drug costs are temporarily more than they can bear financially.
“You’d be surprised how much you have to spend before you’re eligible to apply for (government) assistance,” Ginger said.
Started as an ad hoc support group about eight years ago, the group has evolved from separate verbal support sessions for men and women into a unified group (‘though women still get together on their own to discuss issues of interest to them alone).
The full Cancer Support group meets at the Hillcrest for lunch on the first Tuesday of every month. The women-only group meets for lunch at the 112 on the first Wednesday of every month.
If you’d like to know more about Revelstoke’s Cancer Support Group please contact Ginger Shoji at 250-837-4129 or Doug Hamilton at 250-837-2623.