Childhood Cancer Family Support Society (“CCFS”) (formerly British Columbia Childhood Cancer Parents’ Association was incorporated as a non-profit society in 2003 and received charitable tax status from Canada Revenue Agency in 2004. The members and directors are predominantly persons whose children are in active cancer treatment, off treatment, long term survivors or who have died from their illness.
One of our main goals is to help families who have children with cancer and who are struggling financially by providing them with financial assistance. CCFS is unique in that it provides timely funding for day-to-day expenses for the cases where need is determined to be imminent, on a confidential basis, leaving families to substantially make decisions on allocation of the expenses with a view to allowing them to preserve their independence and dignity.
CCFS is a provincial organization and assists families throughout British Columbia. We work closely with the social workers at B.C. Children’s Hospital, Surrey Memorial Hospital and Victoria General Hospital Pediatric Oncology Departments who identify the families who are struggling the most.
There are 150 new childhood cancer cases each year. Cancer is financially devastating for most families. The stress families experience financially and emotionally can become overwhelming, particularly immediately following diagnosis and early treatment. At present there is very little funding available to these families, and about 80% of families need some sort of significant assistance.
For example, the average brain tumour requires one year of treatment and sometimes up to five years, with years of after effects. At any given time more than 350 children from 200 communities are in active cancer treatment at BC Children’s Hospital, requiring extended travel and accommodation expenses. As many as 1,500 children are also being followed on a long term basis for recurrence and issues relating to the cancer treatment itself.
Each year we endeavour in various fundraising activities to ensure families facing childhood cancer and blood disorders continue to be offered this support. We provide a maximum of $3,000 over a 2 year period with the average application being for between $500 to $1,000. The 2018 funding project runs from January 1 to December 31, and we are seeking your support so we can help families facing this life changing situation in 2018.
The Family Financial Aid program is one of only a few programs that directly supports kids with cancer and their families with financial burdens. This program is very much needed because funds raised by organizations like the BC Cancer Foundation and BC Children’s Hospital Foundation are put towards facilities, research, patient care, education, and medical equipment. CCFS provides financial aid directly to families to meet expenses such as the following:
- Loss of Income: Parents of children with cancer are usually young and have other children. One parent must stay with their child throughout their hospital stays resulting in loss of income. Often due to the length of treatment, jobs are lost because a parent is unable to perform his or her duties adequately. It is worse for a single parent.
- Travel Costs: BC Children’s Hospital is the only acute care pediatric hospital in BC. More than 40% of the children in active treatment live in communities outside of the Lower Mainland. Families must incur travel and accommodation costs coming from other communities for long periods for treatment.
- Medication: Our patient pharmacy bills can be hundreds of dollars a week, only some of which is covered by Pharma care or extended health plans. Also many people are self-employed with no extended health benefits.
Our primary program of providing financial assistance directly and immediately addresses not only the financial wellness of families who are in need, but also addresses mental and emotional wellness. These grants benefit the entire family, parents and siblings. By reducing the financial strain on families and enhancing their network of support, we will help these children enjoy a better quality of life while they are in treatment and ensure that their parents are available to care for them.
The directors of CCFS continually conduct fund raising events and seek larger corporate funding opportunities in a competitive charitable marketplace. Its directors and members are dedicated and share the desire to support our communities.