Riverside Towers Comes Through in a Big Way

Donations to cancer patients’ transportation program exceed expectations.

  • Tracey Anderson (left), Property Manager, Riverside Towers, presents a cheque to Donna Chissell, Coordinator, Annual Giving, Canadian Cancer Society on August 16. Michael Lavoie

On August 16, 2019, representatives of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Wheels of Hope program officially received a donation of $5,030 from Riverside Towers (8610 and 8620 Jasper Avenue). The funds will be used to provide transportation to cancer treatments for people who live in the Boyle Street community.

The project’s prime mover was Riverside’s manager, Tracey Anderson, who used the Wheels of Hope service for six weeks and was tremendously impressed by the program. Her initial goal was to raise donations totalling $1,000, but the campaign produced more than double that amount.

Responding to Anderson’s posters and messages, Riverside and its vendors contributed $2515. Then Devonshire Properties, the building owners, matched their donations. Zev Shafran, Devonshire Properties president, told Anderson, “This is the best cheque I have written all week.”

“Volunteer drivers pick you up to go to your treatments and take you back home,” Anderson says. “If your cancer treatment is just a half hour long, the volunteer waits for you. You are also welcome to bring along a partner or relative if you feel you need their support.”

“Even if you have a vehicle, you are often too anxious to drive yourself,” she says. “Also, parking at the Cross Cancer Institute is a challenge.”

“I had the chance to interact with some wonderful people,” Anderson adds. “Since many of the volunteer drivers have had cancer themselves or are close to someone who has battled the disease, we were able to share our experiences.”

The fundraising project not only supported a valuable program but also raised awareness. “Three tenants asked about it when I put up the posters because they needed to use it,” Anderson says.

Posters proclaiming, “Riverside Rocks!” went up in the building elevators when the goal had been not just reached but surpassed. Anderson, a dedicated volunteer and supporter of charities, organizes Christmas and Easter dinners for residents of Riverside. She has volunteered for Heart of the City, and managed to raise $1650 in donations from Riverside for that event last year. The day she presented the cheque at the Cross Cancer Institute, she was heading out afterwards to volunteer at the Edmonton Rock Music Festival.

The fundraising project not only supported a valuable program but also raised awareness. “Three tenants asked about it when I put up the posters because they needed to use it,” Anderson says.

Wheels of Hope has been providing safe and reliable transportation since the 1950s for people who are receiving active treatment at a cancer treatment facility. Patients pay $100 to access transportation for a full year. Those who are unable to pay can apply for a full or partial waiver.

To find out how to arrange for a ride, contact the volunteer driver program coordinator for Edmonton 1-800-263-6750 (toll-free). If you can donate one weekday per week, ask about becoming a Wheels of Hope driver at www.cancer.ca.

Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.

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