Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough
● From previous page.
‘‘It’s absolutely fantastic. It makes me feel good that I can do it. I feel privileged that I can help people who are at a time in their life where they can’t help themselves.’’
As part of his driving role Anthony has driven as far afield as Christchurch and Picton and is often seen at the airport for pickup and drop-off. Fortunately, he loves driving and he also enjoys meeting people.
‘‘We meet lovely people,’’ he says.
‘‘Just taking them to the supermarket might sound like a little thing, but it is a big thing because they can’t do it for themselves.
‘‘You see people in a different light. You feel for them as well and it makes you appreciate your health more.’’
Anthony and Bernadette often split driving shifts between them as they live together and it’s obvious they have a real affinity for people, treating their clients like friends. They say that often when they come back from a driving job, they’ll ask how the clients are.
For Josephine her journey into volunteering was a very personal one that came about when her husband was diagnosed with cancer.
‘‘John was diagnosed on October 21, 2013,’’ she says.
‘‘I’ll never forget that date.’’
Although it was a difficult time, Josephine turned the experience into a positive one by volunteering her time.
‘‘I began helping with the morning tea and lunches at the Oncology unit for people who were having their treatment. I absolutely loved and really enjoyed it.’’
Unfortunately, she had to divert away from that role as it became too emotional for her.
‘‘Every person I saw sit in that chair I knew, so I took a break from that and continued helping with Daffodil Day, raffles and putting letters into envelopes instead.’’
Since Covid has hit the country, things have changed a lot in the volunteer world with driving roles cut for almost two years. Driving has started back up again, but Josephine is hoping when New Zealand returns to its ‘new normal’ that she can return to the Oncology ward again.
‘‘I loved talking to the people there, keeping them company. Chris and the team there need all the support they can get. In fact everyone at the Cancer Society is absolutely fabulous. They all pitch in. It’s really brilliant and we all love being involved, just doing what we can to help.’’
One couple who has really appreciated the help the siblings provide are Blenheim locals Sue and Gerald Sexton.
Sue says she can’t thank Anthony and Bernadette enough for the help they have provided both her and her husband Gerald since his cancer diagnosis just over 12 months ago.
‘‘When Gerald was diagnosed, we were told he wasn’t allowed to drive,’’ Sue says.
‘‘At the hospital when the doctor told Gerald the news I just panicked, worrying what we were going to do.
‘‘I’m 78 and don’t drive as I get vertigo, but they told us that the Cancer Society would provide us with drivers. With a cancer diagnosis there is enough on our plate without worrying about anything else, and this service has really taken the pressure off.’’
● Continued next page.