Volunteer drivers showed true grit by battling Artic weather to get 15 Doncaster patients to vital cancer appointments in snow-bound Sheffield.
Monday’s snowfall that closed schools and led to thousands of people taking “snow days” or working from home did not stop the Firefly team.
The Firefly Express - whose drivers are mainly in their 60s - hit the road as usual and ferried 15 patients door to door from their Doncaster homes to Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital for treatment.
Driver Jim Yates, 64, who drives the vehicles twice a week, said that while the snowy driving conditions have made their journeys across the region more difficult, he and all the other Firefly drivers were determined to keep the service going. “The patients who use the service are very ill and desperately need their treatment. If we weren’t able to provide this service it would mean patients having to travel to and back from treatment on their own, and on public transport which often has complications,” he said. Firefly Express founder Denise Dunn said the service is a lifeline to everyone who uses it, and cancelling the service simply wasn’t an option.
“We’ve never had to cancel a service so far and we plan to keep it that way. People rely on the Firefly Express being up and running, so our drivers have been taking extra precautions like leaving earlier than normal and driving slowly in the snow and sludge ,” said Denise.
The ‘lifeline’ service, which was set up in 2005 has 11 regular volunteer drivers, and Denise says the Firefly Express is desperate for more drivers, especially if they manage to raise the money for a third minibus.
“The Firefly service is growing all the time so we really need more volunteers to get involved and join the Firefly family. Firefly is Sainsbury’s at Edenthorpe’s charity of the year, and with other fundraising efforts across the region Denise hopes to be able to pay for the third mini-bus soon, meaning more volunteer drivers will be needed. Jim, who lives in Sprotborough, said he volunteered to be a Firefly driver because he thinks it is an ‘incredibly worthwhile cause.’ “I love being part of Firefly and it’s far more than just a transport service, it gives people the chance to make friends with people in the same situation which I think makes a big difference,” he said.
If you’re interested in becoming a Firefly Express driver please call Denise on 07738390541,