AN anonymous donor has stepped forward to help continue the bus service which transports Isle of Wight cancer patients from the ferry to Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra Hospital, for the time being at least.
The Daisy Bus service was due to finish tomorrow (Friday) because of a funding crisis.
But the donor, a long standing supporter of the Wessex Cancer Trust which runs the charity, has agreed to pay for the next three months service, a cost of around £6,000.
A Wessex Cancer Trust spokesperson said: "The service costs £28,000 a year to run which is around £500 a week.
"We are pleased, that thanks to the efforts of a donor, we have secured funding for the Portsmouth transport service until January 2018.
"This is such a relief and means we do not need to stop the service as previously feared. 
"Of course we still need to make bus sustainable beyond January, and we are working with a variety of sponsors and supporters to make this possible."
The bus has given free transport to patients since the mid-80s and its lack of funding will have no affect on the Southampton Daisy Bus which will continue to run.
It was initially set up with a grant from NHS commissioners on the Island, at that time the Isle of Wight Primary Care Trust (PCT).
But the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on the Island cannot fund patient transport services outside of the national eligibility scheme and the NHS can no longer make a contribution to the minibus.
The spokesperson added: "We now have an appeal page for anyone who is able to make a donation to keep this vital service for Isle of Wight patients running.
Caroline Morris, assistant director of commissioning for the Isle of Wight CCG, said: "We are delighted to hear that the charity has now been able to raise sufficient funds to maintain this service until January 2018, and know that many patients and their loved ones will be both pleased, and relieved, to hear that news. The generosity of fundraisers will be enormously appreciated by those making their way to Portsmouth for cancer treatment.
"There has been much discussion about the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) "withdrawing" funding from this service.
"In March 2013 our predecessor organisation (the Isle of Wight Primary Care Trust) gave a one-off grant to Wessex Cancer Trust, to help the charity set up the Daisy Bus service in Portsmouth. This was done because it was felt to be important to help stop an unfairness where cancer patients going to hospital in Southampton benefitted from a charity minibus service, but people visiting hospital in Portsmouth did not.
"The £48,000 grant awarded in 2013 was not part of an ongoing funding arrangement, and since that date the service has not received further financial support from the CCG. The NHS is unable to support funding for patient travel unless medically required.    
"In September this year the CCG was notified that the service was likely to be closed down, and that the charity expected that it would soon need to inform its drivers of that news - this was the first contact regarding the service between the CCG and the charity since January 2016.  However the charity wanted this to be confidential as they were still looking for alternative funding support.    
"Looking to the future, we know that transport issues will be of overriding importance to people on the Isle of Wight. The NHS, both locally and nationally, must deliver major changes to patient services in the coming years, and we must always keep in mind the essential need for people to be able to access the care that the NHS provides."