By Alyson Currie
As a Clinical Social Worker, working in the Nova Scotia Cancer Centre in Halifax, I wanted to provide an update, and a huge ‘Thank You’ on behalf of all of the members who have thus far been assisted by the NSGEU Cancer Support Fund.
The mainland Nova Scotia portion of the fund (Fund T826) is held by the QEII Health Sciences Centre Foundation, and I am one of the Oncology Social Workers who assists members accessing the fund.
The fund was created by the NSGEU Women’s Issues Committee in 2011. The women initially approached me about creating a fund to assist women with breast cancer, but through our conversation they quickly realized the financial impact of cancer is equally devastating to individuals and families coping with all forms of this disease. After I described the limited direct financial assistance available from provincial, community and private resources they decided the NSGEU Cancer Support Fund would be inclusive, for members diagnosed with any type of cancer.
The fund may be accessed to assist a member, their spouse or partner, or their child or parent (by blood, adoption or marriage) who is diagnosed with cancer. The fund provides up to $200 in financial assistance per individual with cancer.
Words are not adequate to express enough gratitude to all who have contributed to the fund through fundraising initiatives and personal donations. Since the development of the Fund, 105 individuals facing cancer have been assisted with a grand total of $20,842.83.
Combined, 56 different Locals were represented, those seeking assistance from the fund ranged from members who themselves were experiencing cancer (66), to members whose spouses were experiencing cancer (13), to members whose children were experiencing cancer (7), and members whose parent was experiencing cancer (19). The types of cancer represented were many. From breast and prostate cancer to brain tumors and colon cancers, head and neck cancers to gynecological cancers, sarcomas and hematological cancers and more.
The assistance was requested to cover many costs, including: Travel expenses (the majority of requests), hospital parking fees, utility bills, rent, ostomy supplies, nutrition supplements (Boost and Ensure), groceries, ambulance bills, medication, tattooing for breast reconstruction (nipple tattoos), wigs, Naturopaths/Naturopathic treatments, home modifications (bathroom grab bars etc.), and health care plan premiums.
The December 2014 statement from the QEII Foundation Office, showed a healthy balance of $8,014.74
The fund continues to be a much needed resource as there are very few programs offering direct financial assistance to individuals facing this often financially devastating disease. I am privileged to be able to assist members accessing the fund. I see the tears of gratitude and relief and receive the thanks, thanks that is meant for all who have contributed to this fund.
So, on behalf of all who have been supported thus far with the fund, Thank You to the NSGEU membership who continue to do an incredible job raising funds and offering support to our brothers and sisters in need.
Alyson Currie, BSW MSW RSW
Clinical Social Worker, Local 100 (formerly Local 42), Nova Scotia Cancer Centre