Story written by Bloomhill volunteer Sue Custance

With 6 months of driving under the seatbelt for Steve and 6 years from Ruth, Bloomhill Cancer Care’s drivers are more than just a lift.

When meeting with Ruth and Steve it is immediately apparent their care factor goes further than a picking up people and taking them to their destination.

Compassion, conversation and care reinforce the service they happily give.

Ruth recalled a couple who were taking two trains and a bus to attend medical appointments and then the trip was reversed to get home. All of this on top of treatment. That’s a long day at the best of times.

Agreeing she is very fortunate to have always lived in picturesque places, Ruth is pleased to have settled here on the Sunshine Coast with her husband Michael.

Friends from Chevallum drew Ruth and Michael to Buderim and they are here to stay, long term. After settling in, Ruth responded to an advertisement in the newspaper to join a knitting group making prosthetics. And that was the start of Ruth’s relationship with Bloomhill.

“The first meeting was at the Caloundra RSL and Ruth keenly showed up with her knitting needles for the second get-together thinking Bloomhill meant the Bloomhill Op Shop in the main street. After being told there was no knitting at the shop, Ruth was redirected to Ballinger Road. Like many others, locals included, Ruth had no idea this haven existed.

“As soon as I walked in to administration I realized I had to get involved,” Ruth recalls. “I quickly met with Val and as soon as I saw the need for drivers I signed up. I love to drive so not only do I enjoy the time on the road, I really enjoy helping the clients in every way I can. It is worthwhile and I am rewarded with a sense of satisfaction.” Six years later Ruth still breathes a sigh of relaxation when she gets to the top of the stairs at Bloomhill.

Ruth’s husband Michael has followed in her footsteps of volunteering with Bloomhill. He first joined as a driver but has since found volunteer vocation as a barista in the café.

Transport is just one of the busy divisions within Bloomhill Cancer Care. Steve joined six months ago after realizing retirement was a great time to volunteer.

After a career of 37 years with the Defence Force both in Britain and Australia, Steve and his wife moved into their Buderim home they had bought 10 years earlier. Again, friends had led them to the area and while Steve’s wife continues to work long hours, retirement has introduced Steve to Bloomhill.

“I thought I liked the idea of retirement but it wasn’t what I expected and within three months I found I wasn’t liking it.  Firstly I put my mind to study for a short time. Passing that up I moved on to photography but that lasted a year.  At the start of 2019 I asked myself what will I do with myself and looked to volunteer work.  Both my wife and I have lost parents to cancer so Bloomhill was a good fit.”

Steve generally volunteers his time driving one day a week and that might be a trip to Brisbane or one or more shorter trips locally.
With a car travelling to Brisbane at least four times a week and numerous local journeys, the volunteers are an integral part of the volunteer team.  They help to ease stress, save time and expenses for clients and their families.

So what is required to join the drivers for Bloomhill?  Apart from an all-important driver’s license there is a Blue Card check as well as two references from people who know you. Then it’s an interview and an induction. Encourage your friends to volunteer for Bloomhill!