Its also hoping to get more coaches on the road to help cancer sufferers get the treatment they need.
The generous staff at Waterford-based company Bausch & Lomb dug deep and within just four weeks, they raised more than €63,000 to buy an ambulance to alleviate hardship to local cancer patients who have to travel to Dublin or Cork for radiotherapy.
Consultant surgeon Gordon Watson of South East Radiotherapy Trust (SERT) said it would make a huge difference to people with cancer.
But he said drivers were now needed for the people carrier and urged anyone who might be interested in volunteering to run the service to contact them on 051 848877.
“We would like to have a pool of drivers for this vehicle. It’s a seven-seater Volkswagen so anyone with a C licence can drive it. If people could contact Joan Boland (at SERT), we would provide an application form so we can comply with insurance regulations.”
Three more such vehicles will be required for each of the other counties of the south east, he said. But the quick start was much appreciated.
“Hopefully, the other counties will be as generous and get better transport for sufferers in their area,” Mr Watson said.
Mr Watson said about 200 women from the south-east develop breast cancer each year and 50% of these have to travel to Cork or Dublin for radiotherapy as part of their treatment.
The vehicle will be available for all cancer patients requiring radiotherapy.
“It is a very traumatic experience for a cancer patient who has on average five minutes of radiotherapy treatment, five days a week, for five weeks to be separated from the support of their families at this time,” he said.
“The ambulance funded by the Bausch & Lomb employees will be used to pick up patients at their homes and take them to hospital or to a central pick-up point for onward travel to the treatment centre and may alleviate the need for some patients to stay in hospital.”