FOR almost five years a community-run initiative has transported people from Bathurst to Orange for life-saving radiotherapy treatment.
The Radiation Bus is part of Bathurst Community Transport, and each weekday it takes those undergoing treatment for cancer to Orange Hospital’s radiation department.
Behind the wheel each day are volunteer drivers who donate their time and efforts to help patients and their spouse or carer during treatment.
Bathurst man Phillip Murray is among the 30 volunteer drivers and he has been driving the Radiation Bus for the past 12 months.
In his role he meets patients from Bathurst, Oberon, Portland and Lithgow at Daffodil Cottage in Bathurst where he then drives them to Orange Hospital.
“I used to work for Myer in Orange and I wanted to do a voluntary thing when it closed and I heard about the Community Transport Bus,” he said.
“It’s wonderful. I just like it and I like the contact with the people that you’re transporting and it gets me back volunteering with the community.
“After I’ve finished I can’t wait until the next time.”
They’re not just focused on their illness, they talk about other things.Radiation Bus volunteer driver Phillip Murray
Mr Murray said he had witnessed the cameraderie between patients and their carers on the bus.
“They talk to each other as well as the driver,” he said.
“They’re not just focused on their illness, they talk about other things.
“A lot of them say if it wasn’t for this [the Radiation Bus] we just couldn’t get there [to the radiation treatment].
“After you’ve finished you certainly feel appreciated.”
The Radiation Bus receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of donations from the community and sponsorships.
Radiation Bus patient shares her story
Sylvia Kilby was diagnosed with bowel cancer in late 2015 and through everything that followed said it was laughter with friends, both old and new, that helped get her through.
As part of her treatment journey, she caught the Radiation Bus each weekday, for six weeks, to Orange Hospital for radiotherapy.
Check out Mrs Kilby’s story in the video below or read more.