Charity helps cover expenses for cancer patients

Over eight years the Cape Breton Cancer Patient Care Fund has helped close to 1,400 people.

The Cape Breton Cancer Patient Care Fund has helped close to 1,400 people help pay for continuing cancer care over the last eight years.

The fund, started by the Cape Breton Cancer Centre in Sydney, helps patients pay for things like medication, drugs, gasoline and undergarments.

It says it has given patients anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple thousand depending on their need.

Malcolm Hawley, 64,  is one of the people who have been able to take advantage of the fund.

Two years ago he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Hawley had to stop working and start travelling from his home in Ingonish Beach to the hospital in Sydney. A 116 kilometre trip over steep hills and winding roads.

"I made a lot, a lot of trips, not only for the radiation but for checkups and the operations on my bladder again. It's just so expensive," said Hawley.

Social worker Tom MacNeil administers the fund.

"It's the perfect storm with your income dropping because you can't work and your expenses going up because you are hit with drug and transportation bills," said MacNeil.

That's when MacNeil dips into the Cape Breton Cancer Patient Care Fund.

 "It's pretty broad what we would look at. The real criteria is if it's caused by the effect of the cancer,"said MacNeil.

The fund has no administrative costs and is dispersed at MacNeil's discretion.

The money for the fund comes in from bake sales, silent auctions and charity runs organized by people all across Cape Breton.