Known throughout the Tri-Valley as a service that not only provided transportation for cancer patients to and from appointments but also friendly companionship, Drivers For Survivors completed its last ride on Jan. 31, being forced to shut down after losing government funding and unable to collect necessary contributions from the community.
"With heavy hearts, we have made the difficult decision to close our program effective February 2021. With the loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is impossible to keep this program going," Drivers for Survivors staff said in a statement announcing the decision.
After losing a $140,000 annual government grant — which accounted for close to half of the group's operating expenses — Drivers for Survivors had been struggling mightily, staff said. These major financial woes were only compounded by the pandemic, which forced the group to cancel most of its 2020 fundraising events.
The group was able to adapt its signature fundraising gala to a virtual event, but was unable to recoup the funds needed to continue operations.
To help clients who have come to rely on the group for rides to doctor's appointments, Drivers for Survivors has been working with the city of Fremont's "Ride-On Tri-City!" program to help connect clients with alternative transportation services.
"The Ride-On Tri-City Program will work with all of our clients, including those that live outside of the Tri-City area, to make sure they are linked with other transportation options for their medical appointments as well as any other needs they may have," Drivers for Survivors staff said.
Founded in December 2012 as a service in Fremont, Newark and Union City, during its time of operation staff say Drivers for Survivors provided more than 22,000 free rides for cancer patients, doing so with the help of more than 300 volunteer drivers.
While driving cancer patients to and from medical appointments was the primary service offered by the group, companionship was a key tenant of the program, offering clients the opportunity to interact with a friendly face while going through treatments.
"We want to thank the volunteers, financial supporters and donors, medical providers, and staff who have made this incredible 10-year journey possible. You have made DFS a great success by helping those in need! We couldn't have done it without you," staff added.