Can Assist Mid North Coast

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Can Assist Mid North Coast is conducting its major fundraiser for the year – a Charity Musical Banquet at The Westport Club, on June 22. Chrissy Jones caught up with Trevor Mason to find out more…



Just what is Can Assist, Trevor?

Can Assist is a charity which provides accommodation, practical support and financial assistance to country people in NSW affected by any type of cancer.

Can Assist has 51 branches in country towns, operated by 2,900 volunteers. Our vision is that every country community, family and individual should have equitable access to cancer care and support services. Can Assist stands for equity in cancer health care for country families.

Can Assist is a Cancer Assistance Network that was established in Orange in 1955. It was formerly known as the Cancer Patient’s Assistance Society of NSW. Can Assist’s purpose is to assist country people affected by cancer and also their families, by providing a range of supports through grass roots community action and innovative, specialised services in rural, regional areas and communities in need.

For people who need to travel to Sydney for cancer treatment that they can’t receive locally, they can stay at the Jean Colvin Cancer Centre, which provides accommodation, transport to daily treatment and a wellness program. Can Assist also raises money to help people with their accommodation and travel expenses, household and pharmacy bills and a new program called Can Assist Viva Packs.

As more regional cancer treatment centres open around NSW, more country people will be able to stay home during their cancer treatment.

Can Assist, in partnership with NSW Community Options, have developed the Can Assist Viva Packs to provide the extra support. The Viva Packs provide a holistic package of support services. This isn’t just help with the daily chores; it also means assessing the big picture and taking a tailored approach to ensuring that each family has the support they require in order to cope with the changing demands and effects of cancer treatment. The range of services may include, but is not limited to, nursing, transport, childcare, domestic help and respite care.

Why was Can Assist formed in the Greater Port Macquarie region?

Due to travel and accommodation expenses, it can easily cost a country family affected by cancer up to five times more than a city patient to access appropriate treatment. The reality is that many country mums and dads simply cannot afford treatment, let alone the weeks away from young children, elderly parents and work.

Who is eligible for your assistance?

Anyone who lives in our local Mid North Coast Hastings area; that is Port Macquarie, Laurieton, Wauchope, Lake Cathie, Bonny Hills and hinterland areas of the Mid North Coast who are affected by cancer.

How do we initiate seeking your help?

All Medical Professionals and Social Workers should know that our Can Assist group exists locally. We have been operating since April 2010. A quick phone call to the toll free number in Sydney will alleviate any questions you may have and provide the information you need to be further assessed for assistance.

If you are eligible, you will be referred to the local branch, Jean Colvin Cancer Centre or a case worker from Community Options for a Viva Pack. Our group was formed to assist patients in the Port Macquarie region who have been diagnosed with cancer that requires treatment in Sydney.

Can Assist has helped many, tell us more …

In 2010, Can Assist provided practical support and $1.8 million in financial aid to over 1,900 people and their families.

In 2011, Can Assist introduced a new home-based support program, Can Assist Viva packs. This program provides practical things like shopping, cooking, picking up kids, cleaning, caring for family members – all the usual chores which can become such a challenge when you are receiving treatment for cancer.

Can Assist does not receive any external funding. Each branch must raise its own funds. Can Assist Mid North Coast conducts raffles, helps at various sporting functions and generally wherever funds can be raised to fund the Program.

You are putting on a great evening to help your fundraising efforts, can anyone attend?

Of course anyone can attend the Charity Musical Banquet; we encourage it! By supporting the banquet at The Westport Club, you are supporting local people with cancer. There will be prizes for best dressed, along with lucky door prizes and raffles.

By supporting the Charity Musical Banquet at The Westport Club, you are supporting local people with cancer. The banquet will be held on Friday 22 June, 7pm for 7.15 start in the Hastings Room of The West Port Club on Buller Street, Port Macquarie. Dress: Cocktail Smart, with tickets $65 per head or $520 per table of 8 persons.

All are invited to come along for fine dining and a social musical get together and to take pleasure in the fundraising activities that will assist in supporting our local families affected by cancer.

Grab your friends or business pals and put a table or two together for a very good cause. Newcomers to the area are encouraged to attend; mixed tables can be arranged on your behalf. Let’s join together and have some fun and help raise some much needed funds.

Tickets can be sourced by calling Trevor on 0427 240 345 or Cath on 6584 0433.

Who can people contact for more info on Can Assist? 

Individuals requiring financial assistance, accommodation in Sydney at the Jean Colvin Cancer Centre or a Viva Pack can contact the Can Assist Cancer Assistance Network in Sydney on 1300 226 277 (local call) for assessment.

If you wish to join our committee or have a question, contact the following people: President Can Assist Mid North Coast Robert Rule on 6559 2612 and Secretary Can Assist Mid North Coast Jenny Smith on mob: 0413 395 007.

Thanks Trevor.

This story was published in issue 79 Greater Port Macquarie Focus

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