Patient & Family Practical Support
We run some pretty incredible programs here at Balding for Dollars and our Patient & Family Practical Support is one of our most important ones as this reaches the family when they are in the middle of it and arguably in the most need in so many ways.
Most people don’t realize that when a child is diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder, it’s as if the whole family is diagnosed with that illness too. In order for families to make it through such a difficult time, support is needed on all levels. That’s where we come in. We work closely with the social workers to help ensure that families have the support they need during this time.
We know that sacrifices in a families dynamic are needed to help fight this disease, and that usually does not come without significant cost. Sometimes families are travelling from outside of the lower mainland to get treated, and often one parent has to quit their job to be a full time caregiver. This already stressful time, is made even more difficult by financial hardship. And this can also affect the siblings’ ability to go to school, continue activities, and enjoy fun family outings or trips as they normally might.
Our families come from all over the province and often need a place to stay while their child gets treatments. We offer support by helping to find temporary accommodations for those families in need. We often provide gas cards and parking passes to offset the cost of travel. We even give out grocery gift cards, skip the dishes credits, in-room dining vouchers, and sometimes even the occasional coffee gift card to help families stay fueled and not worry about having to cook, or take things off their grocery list due to hardship.
For families staying in the hospital for a while, we have a laundry room with a washer, dryer, and supplies so that they don’t have to go elsewhere to wash their clothes, or pack a lot to carry around.
Certain medicines and supplies and are not always covered by health insurance, so we step in with funds to help families cover a few of those costs too. For example, our newest program initiative is funding ‘New Diagnosis Kits’ for families who are going home with a new or relapse diagnosis and need some supplies to manage their child’s care at home. This can include a thermometer, sterile tray, and other supplies. We also include a warm buddy bear for the child as a small gesture of comfort in this new and frightening time. This program is proudly funded by past oncology family, the Heine’s and their Warm Buddy fundraising project.
We also provide some fun and respite for the whole family to distract from the negative sides of this diagnosis. This has often meant a gifted day pass to Vandusen gardens (directly across from the hospital), the aquarium, or other fun activities such as the museum, science world, a movie, concert, or live theatre performance! Fun that the whole family can enjoy together.
Hematology families may also benefit from most of our patient & practical supports, depending on their needs and desires as well. Children being treated in the hematology program are eligible for bursaries, teen adventures, parent retreats, special events, gift cards, and much more! We specifically support patients with funding their testing strips if they are financially unable to do so on their own, and our patient & parent advocate has held hematology specific virtual tea events to help build community in that program.
There are so many other ways that we offer support to our families. Programs like these are how we show our families that they are not alone and that their community is standing there right beside them holding them up. We hope you’ll stand up with us and our families during this time. Consider donating to this program today!
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