Cancer patients and their families now have additional access to financial assistance following three successful grants awarded by the Lotterywest COVID-19 Relief Fund, WA Charity Direct and The Theodore and Isabella Wearne Charitable Trust to help Cancer Council WA continue to provide vital financial support.
Our CEO Ashley Reid said the organisation received more than $64,000 from the three funding bodies which will enable the organisation to provide short-term crisis support to clients experiencing significant financial distress as a result of their cancer diagnosis and the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The financial impact of cancer has always been a considerable and enduring hardship for many patients and their families," Mr Reid said.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified this financial burden through wide-spread job losses and the recommended self-isolation to protect cancer patients from COVID-19 exposure.
"The funds we have received will allow us to provide food and petrol vouchers to families as well as contribute to household bills.
"We are so grateful to Lotterywest, WA Charity Direct and The Theodore and Isabella Wearne Charitable Trust for their tremendous support during these challenging times."
For 51-year-old Marina Berry, the financial assistance offered by Cancer Council WA came at the perfect time, after a shock cancer diagnosis just weeks after purchasing her new home.
"It was November last year and I started feeling incredibly sick at work. I had stomach pains, a fever and was shivering. I went straight to the doctors and then eventually to the hospital for tests," Ms Berry said.
"Before I knew it, the doctors were telling me I had B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and would need to have chemotherapy.
"It was a complete whirlwind; just weeks before I was planning to move into my new home and then all of a sudden I was forced to deal with this cancer diagnosis.
"And to top it off, the COVID-19 pandemic hit during the midst of my cancer treatment. It was incredibly scary."
Ms Berry said it was a very difficult time in her life, made even more difficult by the financial stress often associated with a cancer diagnosis.
"From a financial perspective, it was one of the hardest times in my life," she said.
"I wasn't able to work for more than four months due to a combination of my treatment and also having to self-isolate during COVID due to my low immune system.
"I moved in with mum so she could help me. I used up all of my sick leave and was living off my savings, which dwindled very quickly. I also had to find the money to pay off my mortgage for my new home. "Receiving a cancer diagnosis is hard enough, but dealing with the financial burden that goes with it just adds another layer of stress.
"That's why I am so incredibly grateful to Cancer Council WA for their financial assistance during a very stressful time in my life.
"I was able to access food and fuel vouchers, which meant food on the table and a contribution to my mum who had been driving me to and from my appointments."
Marina has since finished her chemotherapy and moved into her new home, however she wants others in the community to know help is available should they need it.
"I'm in a good place now. I've returned to work and have finally moved into my new home," Ms Berry said.
"However I understand how difficult it can be, so I really want others in the community to know they are not alone and that financial assistance is available through Cancer Council WA should they ever need it."
Calling our Cancer Nurses on 13 11 20 is the best way to access our services and resources.