Next on their agenda is a free ambulance service for the patients

Help on three wheels for Tpuram cancer centre patients drivers provide free travel
news Monday, May 23, 2016 - 14:52

Help is now just a call away for patients who have trouble travelling to the Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. A group of auto drivers in the Pallimukku auto stand are doing their bit to ease the travel difficulties of RCC-bound patients. 

The group offers free pick-up and drop services from across the city to the hospital for patients at any time of day.

Since January 2015, Suresh Kumar M, along with 23 fellow drivers, has been running the service under a trust named the “Janamaithri Auto Drivers Koottayma” with help from various organisations and individuals, including officials of the Pettah police station. 

Suresh, who started the initiative, says, “I was around 12 years old when my sister died of breast cancer. I was helpless at that point of time. However, as I grew up, I wanted to do something to help these patients and I couldn’t find a better way to do it than by offering free rides.”

Suresh says that the group comprises of a varied group of drivers aged between 23 and 65, with several ‘She-Auto’ drivers also a part of the initiative.

Suresh says that the number of patients who avail of the service varies widely from day to day. “Some days we get more than 5 rides. Some days there will be just one ride and there are days when we get no rides at all. However, we make sure that the patients enjoy this service as and when they want,” said Suresh.

Apart from the RCC, these auto drivers also ferry patients to other government hospitals. For patients who they feel come from extremely poor backgrounds and need further assistance, this group also tries to collect funds for their treatment, as well as providing free food.

Next on their agenda is a free ambulance service for the patients. However, the plan is currently on hold due to lack of funds. 

Pettah police station SI Ajith Kumar has good things to say about the auto-drivers. “A lot of patients from across Kerala come to the Pettah railway station and it is extremely difficult for them to find transportation services to the hospital. The team lead by Suresh is doing a great job at helping extremely weak patients,” he says.

The trust members have put up banners and flex boards across the city to spread the word.

The station officials too are attempting to do their bit for the initiative by convincing other auto drivers to be a part of it.