Cancer Freebies

I found a wonderful website at motherswithcancer.wordpress.com that is a great resource for mothers who are on a cancer journey as I am.  One of the pages on their site includes a list of available resources for cancer patients.  Also, they have a "help" page that includes a list of all of the free products and services available for cancer patients.  The below information is pasted directly from their website.\

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.

Help

Cleaning: (note from Heather:  I actually tried this--I went through the application process but their were no available cleaning companies in my area).

Food:
  • 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.
Lymphedema Sleeves:
  • 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. (Also, you can get a free wig from your local ACS--I did this!)
Wishes for Terminal Patients:
Ways to Organize / Friends Helping Each Other:
Air Transportation
  • 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.

 

Resources

  • The American Cancer Society is our #1 recommended resource, as they have hundreds of informative pages written or approved by doctors and specialists in all kinds of cancer.  For immediate help, call their support line: 1-800-227-2435;
  • Avon Foundation;
  • BCmets is an online support group for women with metastatic breast cancer;
  • Camp Kesem – sleepaway camp for kids of cancer patients;
  • Cancer Care offers free, professional support for anyone affected by cancer;
  • CarePages.com is a place to create a free, private website to keep friends and family up-to-date without repeated phone calls. Also offers stories, tips and a directory to find others in similar situations;
  • The Colon Club, an organization dedicated to providing education and support for young people diagnosed with colon/rectal/anal cancer;
  • fertileHOPE helps cancer patients faced with infertility;
  • HysterSisters is another site that supports women considering, going through, or who have had a hysterectomy, for cancer reasons or otherwise;
  • i[2]y: I’m Too Young for this! Cancer Foundation: The Voice of Young Adults, a project of Stand Up to Cancer;
  • The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation is dedicated to researching the cause of Inflammatory Breast Cancer, also known as IBC, an advanced and accelerated form of breast cancer usually not detected by mammograms or ultrasounds;
  • The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation‘s mission is to educate the public and the medical community when needed, that this form of breast cancer is different and is rarely picked up by mammograms;
  • The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Network (new in 2011) mission is to to fund research regarding IBC, to educate the general public and the medical community, and to provide college scholarships for students impacted by IBC;
  • The Livestrong Foundation, founded by Lance Armstrong;
  • The Lymphedema Network;
  • The Macmillan Online Community (UK);
  • Metastatic Breast Cancer Network is a site dedicated to raising awareness of metastatic breast cancer, giving those living with the disease a greater voice and visibility in the breast cancer community;
  • Metavivors is a Research and Support Program for Metastatic Stage IV Breast Cancer that funds research and helps individuals set up support groups:
  • National Cancer Institute;
  • Navigating Cancer;
  • Ostomates,  for new and experienced ostomates.  This site is a recommendation of Jenni Ballentyne, one of the first writers for this site;
  • Planet Cancer;
  • Susan G. Komen Foundation;
  • Tiger Lily Foundation Educates, advocates for, empowers and supports young women affected by breast cancer;
  • United Ostomy Associations of America, for individuals with colorectal cancers (another favorite of Jenni’s);
  • UpToDate is an evidence based, peer reviewed information resource where you can answer questions quickly and increase clinical knowledge;
  • The Wellness Community is a national network of support centers offering yoga and light fitness or meditation classes, individual and group support, and educational classes for cancer patients and recent survivors;
  • What Friends Do has been recommended in our comments, below;
  • Worldwide Breast Cancer is an independent site dedicated to educating the public.  The originator of the site also designed MWC’s logo, at no cost to us!;
  • Young Survival Coalition promotes action, advocacy and awareness of breast cancer in women under 40;
  • Young Survivors Network; and
  • United Ostomy Associations of America.
This list is by no means exhaustive!  There are also young survivor groups, breast cancer groups, and other support groups at most hospitals with oncology units, as well as dozens of blogs and support sites online. We recommend that everyone make contact with a local support group and supplement with online resources to fill in any gaps.  Please ask your oncologist, oncology nurse, and/or social worker  if you haven’t heard about a support group at your hospital yet – you will meet some amazing women and supporters who know an awful lot about living life with joy and purpose – even after a diagnosis of breast cancer.

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