No one should have to face cancer alone. We’re here for online support, but none of us are support professionals, so we urge you to get involved with a national or local support group in your area. Here are some other resources for help available to people with cancer. Some have income/asset restrictions; others are open to all.
- Food and Friends (supported by the Avon Foundation and others); also,
- Many churches and other houses of worship run a “casserole brigade” for the homebound. Call yours, or one nearby, and ask to be put on a list if this would fill a need for you; and
- Here is a Care Calendar that makes is so much easier for your friends and family to help out with meals or rides to appointments. Once the calendar is set up, individuals can log on to sign up for bringing meals, etc. without having the burden on a single point of contact! And it’s FREE!
Hats and Scarves:
- The Fat Thumb Chick makes t-shirt beanies cut and created with a special design that allows her to make fun hats with only one knot – so they’re very comfortable for sleeping in! In honor of her mother and a friend, she has made and given away more than 1,000 hats;
- Head Huggers knits hats for chemo patients and sends them out free. We’ve also seen new knit or crocheted hats lying around in local chemo wards, which is a wonderful idea;
- Heavenly Hats is an all volunteer organization which provides hats free of charge to cancer patients who have a need; and
- Good Wishes is a partnership that sends beautiful L. Erickson scarves to anyone losing their hair as a result of illness or treatment.
- Crickett’s Answer for Cancer is now providing two free lymphedema sleeves and gloves to any patient in need. This partnership is sponsored by Lymphedivas (Susan Niebur, our founder, introduced them in 2011 and helped them get together to help lymphedema patients who couldn’t afford their wraps, a medical necessity not covered by insurance.) Yay, Crickett’s Answer and Lymphedivas!
Medical Bills and Prescriptions:
- Cancer Care Assist;
- The National Cancer Institute offers a comprehensive listing of government agencies and organizations designed to provide assistance for patients and families.
- The First Mile Foundation provides financial support to families and individuals to alleviate the added everyday stresses associated with cancer.
- NeedyMeds, Inc provides links to pharmaceutical companies and other organizations that have patient assistance programs.
- Patient Access Network Foundation assists insured patients who cannot afford the out-of-pocket expenses associated with their treatment.
- The Patient Advocate Foundation provides professional case management services to Americans with chronic, life threatening and debilitation illnesses. They will searve as active liaisons between the patient and their insurer, employer and/or creditors.
- Together Rx Access offers a free prescription savings card for eligible U.S. and Puerto Rico residents who have no prescription drug coverage, are not eligible for Medicare, and meet certain income guidelines.
- Social Security Disability payments are also an option for patients with life expectancies of 2 years or less, or with certain types of very agressive cancer, if the patient cannot work.
Wigs and Makeup:
- Look Good … Feel Better is a program of the American Cancer Society that helps women in treatment learn to choose a wig, scarf, or hat and apply makeup that will make the most of any changes in complexion, eyebrow lightenin, etc. Every participant goes home with a good-sized goody bag of makeup, and sessions are free at most American hospitals with an oncology unit.
Wishes for Terminal Patients:
- Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation provides an opportunity for metastatic breast cancer patients to fulfill a dream or wish.
Ways to Organize / Friends Helping Each Other:
- Air Care Alliance is a trade organization with a comprehensive online listing of organizations that provide patient air transportation for free to ambulatory and medically stable people to access care.
- The National Patient Travel Center provides information about charitable, long-distance medical air transportation and provides referrrals to all appropriate sources of help available.
By the way, a number of organizations provide free mammograms for those who need this assistance with their regular screenings, even if you haven’t been diagnosed with cancer. Contact the American Cancer Society (1-800-ACS-2345), National Cancer Institute (1-800-4-CANCER). or the American Breast Cancer Foundation for more details on these programs.