Big hearts behind the wheel

Since retiring, Harry Kroeker has added 32,788 kilometres to his odometer driving precious cargo. As a volunteer with the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society (VCDS), he dedicates up to four days a week driving patients of all ages to and from their cancer appointments.

Drivers like Harry are a crucial part of the VCDS Child Ride Program at BC Children’s Hospital, which is funded by thegenerosity of donors including Wigs for Kids BC. During COVID-19, this volunteer-run program has become even more essential, providing safe and supportive rides for kids who are immunocompromised or living outside of public transit areas.

In 2020 alone, the program provided 93 round trip rides to families facing childhood cancers.

Last year, Harry drove five different children and their families to their many appointments. On these stretches of road, he’s found it important to balance moments of calm and laughter. He will often bring a few riddles along for the ride to keep families occupied–a momentary distraction from a difficult journey.

“Kids are resilient–even after they’ve been poked and prodded…they still smile at me. They love to laugh and they want to be heard,” said Harry.

In other cases, it’s often the silence that lets Harry know he is doing something right.

“A real high moment is when you see them on the way back home, and by the time that we’ve reached the Oak Street Bridge, the family is already asleep in the back,” said Harry, “That, to me, is big”.

Lately, there’s been a lot to celebrate. As of last summer, all five of the children Harry drove are either in remission
or classified as cancer free after receiving life-saving treatment at BC Children’s Hospital. It is due to the big
hearts of people like Harry that children can continue to access transformative care.

The volunteer drivers provide a service which helps make our life easier while we deal with a very difficult situation.
– the Hundal family

This article was originally featured in the Spring 2022 issue of Shine magazine.
Shine Spring 2022 | Download the PDF

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