Blue Mountains News
Helping keep cars on the road: Can Assist Blue Mountains and greenslips.com.au team up to support local cancer patients
Can Assist Blue Mountains provides practical and financial support to cancer patients by paying for day-to-day essentials such as council and utility rates, renting medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. There is also a clear focus on paying for car registration and green slips, to ensure people can access treatment. “We’re here to support people undergoing treatment and recovering from cancer,” says Branch President Paul Eastment.
Madeleine Wakeling is one such client who has benefitted from Can Assist’s support. She travels from the Blue Mountains to Wollongong for treatment, because her oncologist and medical team are based there and consistency of care is important – hence being able to use her own car is essential. “I have reached out twice and Can Assist paid for my car rego and green slip,” says Madeleine. “It takes away the emotional and financial stress. When you’re going through treatment you don’t want to worry about anything but getting well. To know other people are there to support you makes all the difference. The Can Assist Blue Mountains team has been fabulous.”
Paul adds that having your own car is “enormously important if you’re in an area where public transport isn’t the norm”.
“The major cancer centre is at Nepean Hospital, which is a more than 50km drive, and some patients have to travel to Orange,” he says. “Even if you travel by train, you still need to drive to the station. In addition, the Blue Mountains has just one train line and if track work or landslides occur, then people can be isolated. If you take away personal mobility – real independence – people can feel very isolated. If we pay for clients’ green slips, then we’re freeing up funds for them to spend elsewhere. It’s an important essential need, and if we can support that it allows a freedom in another area of their life.”
Paul says the impact of the financial support from Can Assist is significant. “The basic idea of Can Assist was to help people suffering from cancer, in treatment or while recovering, it’s a long journey for most. However, everyone is involved when there’s a cancer diagnosis so it’s important to keep the whole family running. Family independence is critical – like getting the kids to netball practice,” says Paul, whose wife battled cancer for three years before passing away. “Part of that is being able to survive financially when you don’t have work. It weighs heavily on people, so to pay bills is a remarkably supportive thing to do.”
What sets Can Assist apart from other charities is that all money raised locally stays local to help local cancer patients across the district. Can Assist Blue Mountains is funded entirely by local donations, local fundraising events, and corporate support such as greenslips.com.au, a CTP green slip insurance price comparison and information website.
Brenda Heffernan, Can Assist Blue Mountains’ Secretary says the donation has been “so timely, as it has been difficult to fundraise through COVID”.
Because of the pandemic, the branch hasn’t had a trivia night, one of their key fundraising events, for two years, while the Leura Gardens Festival (another fundraising opportunity) was also put on hold for two years. “We’re treading carefully still but also work with local Rotary Clubs including the Central Blue Mountains Rotary Club,” says Paul. “Having additional support from city partners like greenslips.com.au is so important. It really helps our local community immensely.”
Brenda adds that the branch was recently able to support a client with her CTP green slip bill and because she used the greenslips.com.au comparison site, she was able to source a green slip for $70 cheaper than the one she was previously quoted on. “It means our organisation and our clients are already benefiting from our association with greenslips.com.au. And all the money that’s saved by using the comparison site means we can share it with other cancer patients, making the donation go even further. We’re thrilled,” says Brenda.
For information about the work Can Assist Blue Mountains does or to enquire about donating or volunteering with the branch, contact (02) 4757 2071. For further information about how to support Can Assist, visit www.canassist.org.au.
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