I have been a strong supporter of the Canadian Cancer Society for many years, including being on the “Relay For Life” committee for the first five years of its existence in Fort Frances.
I am also a member of the Fort Frances Community Chest, a non-profit organization that helps people from Mine Centre to Rainy River with financial medical emergencies when all other means of funding have been exhausted.
We have seen a large increase in the number of people requiring financial assistance for cancer-related issues and a lack of support from the Canadian Cancer Society for these people.
A lot of the people we help are cancer patients having to travel to Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, or Toronto for treatments, specialist appointments, or surgery.
After speaking to both the Thunder Bay and Toronto Canadian Cancer Society offices, this is the information they provided me with:
•They only will provide transportation by air (excluding Winnipeg as there are no flights from Fort Frances to Winnipeg).
I think that most cancer patients in our area prefer to drive so they have their own means of transportation while there.
•There is no financial assistance if you travel by ground to any of these locations.
•There is no financial assistance for accommodations or food.
•There is no housing in Ontario for cancer patients (that is funded by the Canadian Cancer Society).
So my questions are how is the Canadian Cancer Society helping our local people while they have to seek medical attention outside of Fort Frances? And where is all of the money going that our community raises every year for cancer?
I realize that a vast portion of this money goes to research and paid positions with the Cancer Society but is there no money earmarked for remote communities such as ourselves?
Clearly, the money is not staying local.
So maybe we, as a small, remote community, need to think about how we can raise money that actually helps the cancer patients in our local area when they are going through the financial hardships cancer brings to themselves and their families.
Fort Frances, Ont.