Can Assist's cancer patients in Blayney to benefit from green slip cost support

COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Can Assist Blayney branch's volunteers, who will be able to provide more assistance to cancer patients in the area as a result of new funding. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Can Assist Blayney branch's volunteers, who will be able to provide more assistance to cancer patients in the area as a result of new funding. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Constant travel, sometimes daily, to receive treatment is a non-negotiable for cancer patients in Blayney, many of whom will now benefit from crucial funding designed to alleviate burden by reducing their CTP insurance costs.

The Blayney branch of volunteer support network Can Assist, which supports 16 patients in varying stages of treatment, will help to reduce or eliminate those CTP costs thanks to a $3,000 donation from greenslips.com.au.

Greenslips.com.au has injected $3,000 into one Can Assist branch every month since beginning a partnership with the volunteer network in 2019. Orange's branch was the first, with $84,000 being invested across NSW since.

This sort of donation can have a big impact on a cancer patient and their family. It means they have one less bill to worry about.

Can Assist Blayney vice-president

Can Assist Blayney vice-president Ray Burns said, considering how important travel is to patients in the area, the support will have a monumental impact, reducing costs and in turn stress.

"It will help our patients to have a registered vehicle, which is really important in the bush," he said.

"Registration is a huge cost, especially for people who are struggling (and) combined with a green slip it really adds up.

"This sort of donation can have a big impact on a cancer patient and their family. It means they have one less bill to worry about so they can focus on getting better."

The monetary support becomes all the more important when you consider Can Assist Blayney is almost-entirely community funded, but avenues to raise money were drastically reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expenses, however, rose.

"Unfortunately, fundraising also took a hit because of the pandemic. Our income dropped 33 per cent, but our expenses rose $10,000 during that period," Can Assist Blayney secretary Sue Scott explained.

"Patients have to go to Orange or Bathurst for oncology which is a round trip of almost 80 kilometres, for more specialised treatment they need to go to Sydney.

"Some patients could be travelling daily, we have one patient going daily for three weeks. Lots of clients live out of town too, without their own car they'd be lost."

The branch has been able to return to fundraising as restrictions have eased though, one of the main avenues for doing so is providing catering for events like wakes, or Melbourne Cup lunches.

With every cent raised going directly to supporting the local community, Mr Burns said the branch would welcome more volunteers to add to the 30 or so it has now.

"We are looking for more ... if we could gain some younger volunteers that would be great," he explained.

"We are all volunteers helping our local community so if we can share the load, it's so much better for all."

For information about donating or volunteering with Can Assist Blayney or about to support the branch, contact 0488 606 831 or visit the organisation's website.