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Cancer Support: The Practical Help You Need, But Don't Know About!

Cancer....This one word alone elicits feelings of great fear and distress in many of us. This is the one word no one ever hopes to hear when they visit their doctor. For those of us who unfortunately are dealing with this diagnosis, or know someone who is, the impact on one's life can be astronomical. 

The most pressing concern of course with a cancer diagnosis is one's health, treatment and outcome. What many come to find out, however, is that along with the the very real physical health issues of cancer, there are many other areas of one's life that are also  heavily impacted and require attention to address. 

The impact of cancer on an individual and their loved ones goes beyond just the medical diagnosis, and infiltrates every aspect of one's life. 

In today's article we want to focus on sharing some not-so-known resources that may be of great benefit to you or your loved one who many be dealing with a cancer diagnosis.  Please share this with others, and hopefully it is of benefit to you or those you love. 

Wheels of Hope (Transportation): One of the biggest issues raised with cancer patients and families is around transportation. Whether having weekly appointments or daily treatment, finding transportation to be able to attend numerous appointments often is challenging when trying to schedule other areas of life as well .    

The Canadian Cancer Society offers the Wheels of Hope Program throughout the  GTA. This program consists of volunteers who can provide transportation  to and from your scheduled cancer related appointments. Volunteer drivers will pick you up at your home, drive you to your appointment and then drive you back to your address. A one-time administration fee of $100 is required, however after which the service can be used unlimited forever, for all future appointments. For those who may financially be unable to afford the $100, speak to the  Cancer Society staff to inquire about any accommodations that can be made to allow you to access the service. 

Financial Reimbursement/ Grants:  When speaking about transportation, any one who has had an ill family member will know that the cost of parking for doctor or treatment appointments becomes very costly, very quickly.  Hospital parking costs can run up to close to $25 a day. Multiple that cost many times over for those who have a family member admitted in hospital for weeks, or if attending daily outpatient cancer treatment appointments over the course of several weeks. 

Furthermore, often with a cancer diagnosis one may not be able to work. As can be imagined when you're not working, little or no income may be coming in to support your household, often leaving many way behind on bills.

The Shine Through The Rain Foundation (formerly known as Cancer Recovery Foundation) is a wonderful organization that looks to help address the negative financial impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on an individual and their family members. Through their- Rainy Day Fund - this organization offers those with life-threaten illnesses the opportunity to apply for a grant which could reimburse their parking costs, or be used to pay for overdue bills, for up to $1000 (per calendar year).  

In order to access this fund, speak with your healthcare team, specifically the social worker, who can work with you to apply on your behalf. You require the receipts for your parking costs and affiliated appointments. Applications are due the 15th of each month, and if approved you will receive a cheque with a reimbursed amount by the end of the same month (in which you applied).

Drug Coverage:  The cost of one's medications to help in the treatment of cancer can also be can cause of stress. Not all medications may be covered, and there are many who do not have an insurance/benefit plan to provide drug coverage. 

Did you know that both the cancer centres( Princess Margaret Hospital and Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre) in Toronto have- Drug Reimbursement Specialists/ Supports. These are staff whose expertise is in exploring options for drug coverage. For more information on getting in contact with these specialists at each site, please see below

Below are a few options for drug coverage, however speak to your applicable drug reimbursement specialist to discuss your specific situation.

Ontario Drug Benefit Plan (those 65 and over) Trillium Drug Benefit Plan ( under age 65) Ontario Works (OW)/Ontario Disability Support Program-ODSP) (under age 65) Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)( drug card for those receiving CCAC home care support)

Supportive Services/Programming : Whether peer support, groups, one-on-one counselling, arts/crafts, yoga, cooking or other recreational programming, there are  means to access support services to address the  emotional, mental and spiritual health of those impacted by cancer. Below are  two cancer specific support centres which offer various programming and support for cancer patients and their families. 

These are just a few of the " not-so-known"- practical resources which address some of the more common concerns (outside of the medical) that arise for many cancer patients. For more information on additional programs and resources directed at supporting those impacted by cancer, please check out in detail the below organizations:

We hope these resources can be of benefit to you or someone you know. If you have any questions, you can contact the specific resource directly or feel free to contact us!

Until Next Time.... Stay in the Know! Stay Informed! 

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