Cancer patients across the Shoalhaven, who rely on their cars to travel to and from treatment, will benefit from financial support Can Assist Shoalhaven has received from greenslips.com.au.
The partnership between greenslips.com.au and Can Assist, a community-based volunteer network that provides financial and practical support to people affected by cancer and living in country NSW, was forged in 2019, with funding provided to help pay for cancer patients' green slip insurance.
To date, greenslips.com.au has supported 24 Can Assist branches across NSW and is committed to supporting more.
President of Can Assist Shoalhaven, David Boyle, says the impact the funds can have on a cancer patient and their family is significant.
"They will have one less bill to cover and can direct their money to something else like medication," he says.
"It gives us one more way to help people and its important they know this financial support is available."
Client Liaison Officer, Jill Smith, agrees.
"It will certainly have a big impact. A lot of cancer patients are the main breadwinner and have young families, or they're older people on aged pension," she said.
"Paying for their green slips frees up money for other things that they need."
David and Jill both stress that having a car is essential for many local cancer patients for a myriad of reasons: limited public transport in the area, bus timetables not fitting in with treatment sessions, and the privacy of having their own vehicle is a powerful emotional support.
"You just want to go home after treatment. Often you don't feel well and just need to go home and lay down," says Jill.
David, whose wife is a breast cancer survivor, says your own car means you have the ability to go to treatment whenever you need and want.
"Some people have to travel to Wollongong or Sydney, depending on the cancer, and the round trip can take several hours," he said.
"Flexibility and freedom is key to managing your medical appointments."
Pandemic affecting demand
Can Assist provides practical and financial support to cancer patients through travel, accommodation, medication and utility payments.
Each year Can Assist Shoalhaven supports scores of patients who are at different stages of their cancer journey.
However, due to the pandemic the number of people they're assisting has dropped significantly. In the 2019 financial year, Can Assist Shoalhaven provided more than $34,000 to 78 cancer-affected families, while in the five months to October 2020, they provided a total of $5000 to 11 families.
"We believe people aren't seeking treatment due to COVID; they're staying away from hospitals and cancer centres," Jill says.
"However, it's important that people don't neglect their health and don't put off getting important tests and screening for cancer. We're here to help and we urge people to contact us if they need assistance."
Stephen Treacey, founder and owner of greenslips.com.au, a comparative CTP insurance site, knows the importance of keeping local cancer patients' cars on the road when they need them the most.
"We understand that a cancer diagnosis in rural or remote NSW can bring the additional burden of travelling long distances to treatment," he says.
"I've seen the upheaval and disruption caused when people are forced to leave town for medical treatment.
It's great to be able to help at a grassroots level through Can Assist branches like Shoalhaven. Our contribution goes directly to the branch to assist cancer patients being supported by that branch."
Can Assist Shoalhaven is funded entirely by local donations, local fundraising events, and corporate support such as greenslips.com.au
All money raised locally stays local to help local cancer patients.
The branch always welcomes new members and needs help manning fundraising activities such as the Bunnings barbecue.
"We're back and raising funds again. We're here to help those in need and to welcome new members," says David.
About Can Assist
Can Assist aims to ensure that all people, regardless of where they live in NSW, have access to cancer treatment and care.
By providing accommodation, financial assistance and practical support to people from rural and regional areas, it ensures country people are given the same opportunities and treatment choices as those who live in city centres.
Can Assist Facts
Established in 1955, Can Assist provides practical and financial support to people affected by cancer and living in country NSW. It is funded entirely by local donations and corporate sponsorships.
In 2019, Can Assist responded to over 7,700 requests for assistance from rural and regional cancer patients through 55 branches across NSW.
Can Assist is a grass roots, community-based volunteer network. It is local volunteers supporting local families affected by cancer.
All the money raised locally stays local.
greenslips.com.au, a price comparison and information service for CTP green slip insurance, is a partner of Can Assist. It does not sell CTP green slip insurance.
Since 2019, greenslips.com.au has supported Can Assist head office and 24 branches across NSW and commits to providing further support.