Asix-year dream by St Georges Basin local Dick Manwarring to have a dedicated patient transport in the Bay and Basin area for local cancer patients has come true.
The Cancer Council NSW Bay and Basin Patient Transport Bus was officially commissioned at the St Georges Basin Country Club on Thursday.
Through his Code C Cancer Fund-raiser at the Basin Country Club and by arranging 130 sponsors, over the years Mr Manwarring, 77, has raised $174,000.
Mr Manwarring and his wife Joan were given the honour of officially cutting the ribbon to launch the new service.
“This is a great day. I’m that proud to see the bus launched, I could jump over the moon,” he said.
“I have worked hard with the community to get this service.
“I’ve been lucky to have a marvellous team working behind me. We could not have raised the money without them. They have all done a fantastic job.
“I must also thank the Country Club board for allowing us to stage our many fund-raising events at the club and also to the many sponsors, not only from the local area but further afield from as far as Sydney down to Eden, who have come aboard with support.
“To the South Coast Register, WIN TV and the three local radio stations that have supported us, I can’t thank you enough. You are all guardian angels.”
The specially-modified, 10-seater Toyota Hi-Ace, equipped with a chair lift for wheelchairs, safety rails and an extra step, cost $71,000.
The bus will be staffed by Cancer Council volunteer drivers and will make daily return trips to the new South Coast Cancer Centre in Nowra, stopping at Woollamia, Jervis Bay, Huskisson, Vincentia, Erowal Bay, Sanctuary Point, Basin View and St Georges Basin along the way.
The couple got behind the cause when they lost their daughter Dianne, aged 43, to breast cancer seven years ago.
“After she died I got involved with the Cancer Council support group and later the Cancer Council. I just felt there had to be something we could do to help,” he said.
“Through my daughter’s battles and later by transporting people to Wollongong for treatment in my own car, I knew the difficulties they faced.”
He originally wanted to raise money for some quiet rooms at the new South Coast Cancer Centre at Shoalhaven Hospital but then his focus turned to providing transport for patients from the Bay and Basin.
He hasn’t finished his fund–raising efforts.
“We have the bus and that’s the start, we still need to pay for its ongoing operation,” he said.
“It won’t run on air.
“We also have to register it and insure it.
“We have already raised $174,000, we only need $26,000 to crack the $200,000 mark and I think we can smash that.”
Mr Manwarring’s next Code C fund-raising event will be held at the St Georges Basin Country Club on October 11. Tickets will go on sale on August 1. The evening will feature entertainment and a huge auction.
Anyone who wants to use the Cancer Council NSW Bay and Basin Patient Transport Bus should phone 4223 0200.