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Volunteers are the backbone of West Island accompaniment service ABOVAS


Driving around Montreal is not for everyone.

"My husband was very sick and he had to go downtown to the hospital and I don't drive downtown," says Pierrette Doe.

It's a dilemma many may have faced. Doe now relies on ABOVAS, an accompaniment service in the West Island. It's a service she can depend on to get her to her doctor's appointments or run errands safely.

"They know I need extra help, so they follow me and help me so it's wonderful."

Helping the community since 2007, executive director Denise Hupé explains it's a service run on the kindness of volunteers.

"Our volunteers go to our client's houses, they bring them from the door to the car safely, they drive them to their appointment, which is either medical or a non-medical appointment. They help them, and then they bring them back home."

Louis Thouin is one of those volunteers, and he says being a part of ABOVAS has been very rewarding.

"Some go as far as to say, 'I don't know what I'd do without you guys.' It brings water to your eyes sometimes."

The service is always looking for more people to lend a hand.

"The more people we can help depends on the amount of volunteers," Hupé said.

Although most of their clients are seniors, Hupé said they'll assist anyone who might be alone.

"Some people don't have family available because they're working or they just don't have anybody. So they can call ABOVAS to help them out."

They aim to make getting around more accessible and affordable. There is no charge for the service; however, a small compensation is given to the volunteer for the wear and tear of their vehicle.

And for clients like Doe, it's a more cost-effective option.

"I certainly can't afford a taxi downtown. I did it once and it costs a fortune," she said.

Hupé's father was one of the ABOVAS founders, and her work carries that legacy.

"It makes it extra special, especially now that my dad's gone."

For clients like Doe, it's made all the difference. "They are very nice. All the people at ABOVAS are nice and helpful," she said. Top Stories

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