Importance of Funding the Cancer Journey

Importance of Funding the Cancer Journey

Emotional and Financial Support

Pill bottle and stack of cash
For more than two decades, the pediatric cancer survival rate has increased dramatically. Over 80% of children with cancer survive over 5+ years. Technological advances in medicine now give parents hope that their young children will beat cancer. But this optimism does come at a price, and most often, it is not only long-term medical issues from treatment, but a large financial one that can affect families long after treatment ends. We provide support for families battling cancer. Receiving the diagnosis that your child has cancer is news no parent should ever have to hear. Having to also worry and struggle under the strain of a health care system that treats the physical disease of cancer but inflicts fiscal and emotional wounds should not be another burden for parents.

Finding the best treatment for your child, devoting your time and energy as a caregiver are only part of the responsibilities for parents during this time; funding the cancer journey is also a large part of the load. Coordinated support from family, friends and their greater community is needed to avoid the high rates of secondary illness, financial strain, or collapse, and/or the jeopardy of lost time, pay and productivity at work. As health care costs and insurance deductibles rise each year, and the cost-of-living increases, it is an economic reality that will cause parents to financially struggle while they watch cancer take a toll on their child.

Cost of Cancer to a Family

In a 2018 report conducted in part by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the average medical cost to fund one child with cancer was $833,000; this includes lost parental wages due to cutting back work hours or, in some cases, quitting a job. Costs can range from a $40,000 a day hospital stay to a $5.00 fee to park in a medical center lot. Big or small, the cost of cancer has a tremendous effect on families, some struggling financially even before the cancer diagnosis. 2020 census statistics show that 91% of Americans had health insurance coverage for all or some of 2020, but that is still not enough to cover all costs for many families.

The financial obligations go beyond chemotherapy treatments or prescription medication. The daily expenses of basic needs like food and shelter can force families to drain their life savings to survive. But there is hope. Just as advances in science have increased the chances of surviving cancer, advances made during the 21st century have put computers in the palm of our hands and opened up the world to finding information in seconds.

Resources Are Available: Support for families battling cancer
Holding an empty wallet

If you are reading this blog post, chances are you are looking for resources to help you through the cancer journey of your child or spouse. Fortunately, there are organizations across the country to help go through the trauma of childhood cancer. Many are generously providing financial aid to low-income families. However, the resources are splintered and sometimes hard to find. Apply for as little as $200 can involve lots of paperwork. Often too daunting to do. It takes a lot of time and energy to find resources when there are so many other more important issues vying for your attention. Help for not only finances but managing the logistics of the journey are now found in one place, Here to Serve.

To be clear, financial statements and applications do not show the actual reality of what families are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. As the cancer journey starts, many typical routines will change very quickly. A parent may have to cut work hours to part-time to be full-time caregivers; once the obligations become too great, they may need to take unpaid family leave or even quit working. As many as 25% of families will lose 40% of their household income throughout their child’s cancer treatment. At Here to Serve, we offer support to families who usually do not qualify for aid because household income is considered too high.

Saving money in piggy bankFounded by Katie Quintas and her husband Silvio, part of the mission of Here to Serve is to prevent families from going into bankruptcy to care for their child during the cancer journey. The cancer diagnosis should not force parents or guardians to lose their job, health, and emotional well-being during their cancer journey or because of it. For over ten years, Katie and the Here to Serve staff and volunteers have kept the promise to provide quality resources and assistance to families across the country who do not qualify for government assistance. In 2020 with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, this promise became increasingly challenging to keep. Still, as our nation and the world emerge from this historic tragedy, the team at Here to Serve continues this often never-ceasing mission to help the children and families affected by cancer.

Here to Serve Is a Great Resource!

Please take the time to view the Here to Serve webpage and learn more about the services offered. We provide services to support families battling cancer. Our Care Community volunteers can assist with the following:

  • Meals
  • Childcare
  • Petcare
  • Gift Cards
  • Household chores and cleaning services
  • Family Updates
  • Fundraising
  • Holiday preparation and decorations

There are many other services and resources provided free of charge to lessen the worries of daily life. Financial assistance and emotional support are provided so that families do not go through the cancer journey alone.

By Chris Smith

About the Author

Chris Smith is a Here to Serve volunteer from the San Francisco Bay area who himself is a cancer survivor.  He uses his professional experience as a technical writer to give back and provide clear and meaningful information for families with a child battling cancer.

 All information on this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult a medical provider in your particular area of need before making significant changes in your medical decisions or lifestyle.