Julie drives ‘her people' with love

DEDICATED DRIVER: Julie Newport of Doonbah loves driving 'her people' to their specialist and medical appointments. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times
DEDICATED DRIVER: Julie Newport of Doonbah loves driving 'her people' to their specialist and medical appointments. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times Samantha Elley

FOR the past five years Julie Newport has been a driver for those requiring medical transport in the Evans Head and Woodburn area, and she loves it.

As part of Mid Richmond Neighbourhood Centre's Flexi Service Medical Transport program, Julie is often running between the Lower Richmond to Lismore or Ballina with "her people", as she calls them.

"I started driving for the centre as a way of paying them back for all the support they gave me when I was nursing Peter," she said. "The Mid Richmond Neighbourhood Centre, Community Health and Homecare were always available for me at a phone call."

Julie's son Peter suffered from Multiple Sclerosis and she nursed him for five years.

Sadly, Peter died in 2007.

"After Peter passed away, a couple of months later Carol (Holmes, Home and Community Care program co-ordinator) asked if I wanted to do driving," Julie said.

"I take people from Evans Head or Woodburn to doctors' appointments or specialists in Lismore, Ballina and Casino.

"I class them as 'my people' and I adore them."

Julie said many of her people had become very close friends.

In fact, last year when Julie's other son David died in tragic circumstances, it was the people she transported every day that helped her through her grief. "They love her because she is always up for a chat," Carol said.

People who qualify for medical transport include those over 65 on an aged pension, under 65 on a disability pension and other members of the community who qualify for non-emergency health-related transport.

If you would like to become a driver, you can contact Carol Holmes on 6682 4334.

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