Early in 2013, a group of interested volunteers gathered and decided to start the Yukoners Cancer Care Fund. This fund was designed to assist families who had someone with cancer in the home and would allow the family to access a small amount to offset some home expenses.
We quickly adopted the phrase, “Yukoners helping Yukoners,” as all money raised after expenses would stay in Yukon. It was a gift from Yukon people to assist those neighbours and friends in need.
In the beginning, we worried that the program did not seem to be well known. Today, three years later, we are now overwhelmed with the need for support by these families.
Set up as a non-profit charity and housed under the umbrella of the Yukon Hospital Foundation, the fund has slowly been augmented by various fund raising events. Two most notable are the Speaker’s Reception, hosted by Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, David Laxton, and the Hootenanny & Dance, hosted by Hank Karr & Friends. The most recent event was Speaker Laxton’s birthday party where instead of gifts and cards, he asked his guests to donate to the fund. He raised over $3,500. Events such as these bring in funds so we have the ability to assist.
On Jan. 22, the Hootenanny & Dance will be held from 7 – 10 p.m. at the Elks Hall. Three Beans have donated the cost of tickets and are selling them, the Elks Club is donating the hall and we hope to have many items for a silent auction.
In the past year, we have discovered the need and the rate of cancer applications has grown and we are finding we are unable to assist everyone who is recommended.
The process is fairly simple, as we fully recognize the privacy needs of patients and have tried not to set many strict parameters. The medical staff or hospital social worker makes the family aware that these funds could be acquired for expenses and they fill out a form. The form is then given to the Yukon Hospital Foundation office staff and sent on to the hospital’s finance department to have a cheque distributed.
Please be advised this is not an emergency or travel fund. It is a fund to assist with expenses that are easily forgotten in the stressful and unsettling times of dealing with the cancer.
The Yukon Hospital Foundation and all the hospital staff are to be commended for the wonderful work they do on behalf of patients and the amazing facilities we are blessed to have locally. They are not in the position to deal with demands of emergency funds, and I just wanted everyone to know this was not the fund’s intent.
On a final note, our communities have so many wonderful people who are willing to give of their time, their space and their products, but we do need to think of other ways to raise funds to help more people.
One local family had applied for the fund. Sadly, however, the patient passed away, and they decided to gift the money back so it would help another family. This is the true spirit of the fund!
Thank you to everyone who has donated and helped get the fund started – now as we begin 2016, I ask everyone to give a little to help others.
Geraldine Van Bibber Committee member, Yukoners Cancer Care Fund