There’s been a lot of buzz lately about an 81-year-old man in Fayetteville, North Carolina who got home after a lengthy hospital stay and couldn’t figure out how to get food. He tried to get groceries delivered, but no store would do it without a deposit and he couldn’t get out of his chair, much less get to a store.
So he called 911. In a heartwarming turn of events, the police dispatcher and several other officers went over to the man’s home with bags of groceries. They even fixed him a couple ham sandwiches.
Apparently, the man is a frail widower with a prognosis of only six months to live. He has no family living nearby and can hardly walk. Obviously, this man needs help. And because of the publicity about his story, he’s getting it. Local churches are going to make sure that his needs are met during these last months of his life.
But I can’t help thinking that for every lucky cancer patient who gets help when they’re sick and broke, many don’t.
And, sadly, I think that many of those people are suffering needlessly – there’s lots of help out there, it’s just that it’s not coordinated. You have to do a little digging, and most cancer patients don’t have the energy for that. But if you’re facing both cancer and a financial brick wall, here are a few things you can do:
• Google the name of your cancer and “financial assistance.” There are many small foundations that make gifts to those suffering from a particular malignancy.
• CancerCare, a non-profit that offers counseling, education and support groups, also provides links to many sources of government and charity assistance for cancer patients.
• The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition is a group that offers all kinds of planning and financial education. You can also search for groups that might help you, either by diagnosis, or by the type of assistance that you need.
• Stupid Cancer, an organization that focuses upon young cancer patients and survivors, has put together a terrific list of financial resources, everything from scholarships, to gift grants, life grants, help with fertility preservation costs, post-treatment transition grants and more.
• If you want to raise money by crowdsourcing, check out GiveForward to start a fundraising campaign for yourself or for a loved one.
• LiveStrong has put together terrific tutorials on how to be both creative and responsible about finances when you’re a cancer patient. They provide information on many topics, including appealing insurance denials, how to convert various assets into cash for living, and how to use credit when you have cancer.
If you’re having money troubles during treatment, and don’t have time to look at these websites, have a friend or relative do so. I bet it will be worth your while.