A connection that saves lives
As challenging as it was back in March 2020 when the provincial government announced the first lockdown, that month was even more worrisome for some members in our community like Mark Kauffeldt, whose mother, Margaret, needed life-saving dialysis treatment.
Still working full-time, Mark wasn’t sure how he was going to get his mom safely to the Renfrew Victoria Hospital for treatments three times a week.
When he connected with Carefor’s transportation service, he had no idea just how much more he and his family would receive.
A matter of life and death
Dealing with a chronic medical condition is scary, and can oftentimes feel like a lonely journey. Margaret has suffered severe health issues throughout her life. She was born with a defective kidney, which was removed at 30 years old. Her other kidney, however, has always been enlarged. When she started getting multiple infections early last year, doctors recommended dialysis. That news came at the onset of a global pandemic.
COVID-19 has put many things into perspective, such as the resources we once had at our fingertips. But most of all, the human connections some of us took for granted. While Margaret lives in a building at the end of Mark’s house, she still lives alone and has a limited social life. For many seniors in our community, especially for those who don’t have loved ones close by, this time of heightened social isolation can take a toll on their physical and mental health.
In the shadow of COVID-19, reliable transportation services keeping our community safe and connected has never been more important.
More than a drive
For the Kauffeldts, volunteer Carefor driver Roma Bouchard was more than someone who drove mom to her medical appointments.
“He’s become like a member of our family,” Mark says.
Roma started volunteering more than a decade ago, after retiring from the Canadian Armed Forces. He says helping make someone’s life easier, even if it’s as simple as driving Carefor clients to their medical appointments, means a great deal to him: “This service is a necessity. It gets me up in the morning to know I’m helping them get up the next morning.”
While Margaret’s ride with Roma is only 40 minutes long to and from the hospital, there’s still plenty of time to connect, laugh, share life experiences, take a load off, and essentially facilitate those much-needed human connections.
“I don’t know what I’d do without him,” Margaret says. “If it wasn’t for Roma, I would have to move away far from my son and rent a place close to the hospital.”
Mark is grateful that his mother’s health and spirits have improved over the past year. He says Roma goes above and beyond in providing comfortable and friendly service. On most days, Roma even brings a treat for Mark’s dog when picking up Margaret.
“He’s very social and thoughtful. He’s become somebody different for her to speak and socialize with, which has made a big difference for her because she doesn’t have many social activities throughout the day,” Mark says.
Taking care of a community
As many of our clients and their loved ones have said, life without Carefor’s transportation services would be bleak for many individuals.
This key community support service offers flexible and affordable transportation to help individuals unable to access other means of transportation to local and out-of-town medical appointments. In 2019-2020 alone, the program gave more than 62,000 rides.
“Without Carefor, people wouldn’t be taken care of. Some people would have to give up on life if they wouldn’t be able to get to their appointment. If my mother couldn’t get to her appointments, she couldn’t survive very long, it's really a matter of life and death,” Mark says.
He admits that he didn’t fully grasp the value of essential community support services until he was in great need of it: “People who don’t need it don’t know what people are going through and how important these life-saving services are in our community.”
Margaret agrees: “Everyone should know how wonderful they are."
Carefor’s transportation services are a lifeline for many people and their loved ones in Pembroke-Renfrew County. Carefor is proud to be at the forefront of ensuring the health and wellbeing of vulnerable members in our community, today and into the future.
You can help us keep people like Mark and Margaret stay connected by giving at carefor.ca/donate.