The difference that Cancer Connect makes

Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Seamus McGrath makes the presentation to the Cancer Connect group of Helen O'Driscoll, David O'Brien, Michael Goodall, Meilie O'Leary and Cllr Patrick Murphy, at the Cork County Mayor's community awards ceremony for 2017 hosted by Cork County Council, at County Hall, Cork.
Picture: David Keane.

For more details see attached press release.

Media Release
Cork County Mayor’s Community Awards 2017
May 10th 2017
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Séamus McGrath, held the fifth Cork County Mayor’s Community Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 10th 2017.  11 Awards were made on the night over 36 nominations.  An incredible variety of community groups and individuals from across Cork County attended the evening’s celebration.  
Mayor McGrath awarded the following nominees within each Division.
NorthGroupMitchelstown Community Council
NorthGroupCoolagown Development Group
NorthIndividualDenis Withers
SouthGroupBallycotton Development Company
SouthGroupCarrigaline Community First Response Team
SouthIndividualUrsula Ennis
WestGroupLeap Scarecrow Festival
WestGroupCancer Connect
WestIndividualRobert Wilmot

Robert Wilmot received the Overall Individual Award.  Bandon man Robert is a member, and founder of many, voluntary organisations.  Robert’s contribution to these clubs supports an important social outlet for many people, particularly those to live alone.
The Overall Community and Voluntary Group Award was made to Cancer Connect.  Nominated by Councillor Patrick Gerard Murphy, Cancer Connect offer a free and flexible transport service to Cork hospitals from West Cork for people receiving radiotherapy, chemotherapy and related treatments.  Cancer connect have recorded 18,600 journeys and have over 250 volunteers registered.  They are also planning on extending their services to include a North Cork route.
Speaking at the event, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Séamus McGrath commented ‘An amazing 36 community groups and

Posted on: 11th December, 2017

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

Above: In 2016, Cancer Connect won the ‘Overall Mayors Award’ for County Cork. Helen O’Driscoll pictured seated at the front right.

Cancer Connect based in Bantry is a vital support for the many people from West Cork who avail of its service to get to Cork for radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment.

In operation since 2011, the free and confidential service runs five days a week to Cork hospitals and could not operate without its team of volunteer drivers.

Cancer Connect has charitable status and is managed by Local Link Cork, a non-profit, independent transport company. To date, over 11,500 passenger journeys have been recorded.

Depending on the demand, on average we have about 40 passengers a week,” says Helen O’Driscoll, Cancer Connect co-ordinator. “At our busiest, we had 15 vehicles travelling up to Cork on one day.

“When you’re receiving a diagnosis of cancer, transport is such a small insignificant thing, but it is a massive drawback if someone doesn’t have it,” says Helen, who emphasises that the service is operated entirely by volunteer drivers. “We have 260 drivers on board and the service has recently expanded to North Cork,” she says.

“We don’t want to see anyone stuck for transport ever. If we get a phonecall, we’ll figure it out and we can only do that because of our volunteers.”

Helen vividly recalls the first passenger to use the chemotherapy transport service. “She was an older lady, who had been travelling to a Cork Hospital once a week for five years. Hail, rain or snow, every Friday morning, she travelled up on the CIE bus, walked from Western Road to the Bon Secours, had her treatment and walked back again with swollen legs at the end of day, to get on a bus with students going home for the weekend. It was a nightmare for her. She heard about the service, called us and she cried on the phone when we said we could help her.,” recalls Helen.

“Within minutes we had a team of drivers lined up to pick her up at her door every Friday.

Donal Kelly, a farmer near Dursey Island, lost his wife and two brothers to cancer. He is one of the volunteer drivers for Cancer Connect. “It is very fulfilling work and I love it,” says Donal. It’s marvellous to be able to help people.”

Retired guard Pat Finn from Clonakilty is also one of the many volunteer drivers. He feels it’s an honour to be able to drive people to their treatment in Cork. “If I’m available at all, I’ll make the trip,” he says. “If we can take some of the stress off the patient and his or her family, we will,” he says. “It can be a long day, so we often stop en route if the passenger needs to get something to eat.”

“The whole service is based on kindness and goodwill. The drivers look after these people like they would their own family,” says Helen.

Susan O’Donovan explains the difference that the Cancer Connect service made to her family. “Cancer Connect stepped into our lives in 2015, a year or so after our son Sam was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Part of Sam’s treatment required a blood sample to be drawn weekly, a task I was trained to do from the comfort of our home. In theory, passing this responsibility to the parent was to save the family any added unnecessary time on the road and in the hospital but the fact remained the little bottle containing our son’s blood sample still needed to get to the labs in the Mercy Hospital.

“Our community liaison nurse suggested we contact Cancer Connect.

“I can remember so vividly our trip to Bantry that afternoon, Sam and his older brother Rory in tow. We met with Jack and within minutes a burden had been lifted. The anxiety of parking at the Mercy Hospital, a nightmare at the best of times, childcare, fuel, just the time in itself saved by not needing to travel up the road and home again, was all taken care of. The Little Bantry Bus, as my boys call it, gave us back our Monday’s…eased the pressure on what was often very stressful times.

“Just last month we returned to the little office in Bantry to say thank you in person to Jack and Helen, Steve and the amazing crew of drivers who are Cancer Connect.

“Sam no longer needs  his blood sample collected and dropped to Cork, that part of his treatment has finished. An emotional visit. Filled with gratitude and love for people who came into our lives when we needed them most. I will remember their kindness, positivity and support for ever more.”

The Cancer Connect radiotherapy service leaves Skibbereen and Bantry areas each morning at 10am and returns each afternoon. The hospital accommodates those people travelling with Cancer Connect to be seen each day between 12 noon and 1.30pm for radiotherapy appointments.

People requiring chemotherapy or related treatments such as doctor’s appointments, scans, blood test etc are taken to Cork by car, as their appointments can vary and may necessitate a number of visits, often to different hospital locations, within one trip.

In 2016, Cancer Connect won the ‘Overall Mayors Award’ for County Cork.

Cancer Connect is totally dependent on voluntary contributions and donations and survives solely because of the generosity if the West Cork community.

Contact Helen O’Driscoll, Cancer Connect on 027 52727 or 087 1224404 or email

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Visiting restrictions in place at Bantry General Hospital due to Flu Presentations

Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.

All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu virus.

People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
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8th January, 2018  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Cope Foundation's Happy Christmas from Cope Foundation. ... See MoreSee Less

What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

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