4MOSAIICC: A new online campaign in support of families and caregivers of children in Canada
Wendy Bell was balancing a busy career as a teacher and life as a single parent when, at age 13, her son was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma Type b. At a time when she needed to focus on managing her son’s treatment, she was concerned over finances and paying the bills.
“Families don’t know where to look for information. The last thing a parent wants to do when they’re in a hospital is spend time looking for resources. By having one place where families can get all the information they need, they’ll be able to spend precious time with their child,” says Wendy. “It was overwhelming, I was already dealing with the devastating news that my child had cancer and, on top of that, I suddenly had all kinds of unexpected expenses along with my regular bills. These quickly mounted up to tens of thousands of dollars. [Read the rest of Wendy’s story]
Wendy isn’t alone. Like so many other families across Canada, she wishes she’d known more about the options available to her, options that would help alleviate the financial burden a growing number of family caregivers in Canada experience. Caregivers like British Columbia resident, Dan Mornar.
A bereaved parent and advocate with the BC Childhood Cancer Parents’ Association for over 20 years, Dan knows the financial implications all too well. “We racked up $250,000 in expenses before we knew it. You don’t think about it at the time — you’re just focused on your child getting the treatment they need — but 25 years later that financial impact is still affecting us.”
On September 3, 2015, the Canadian Cancer Action Network, comprised of 97 member organizations across Canada, launched a joint fundraising and promotional campaign to draw attention to the issues and needs of Canadian families. 4MOSAIICC is the driving force behind the concept to build a collaborative, interactive Information Portal exclusively for families and caregivers of children. In short, an online knowledge centre providing the type of raise public awareness and make strides towards providing information families really need, when they need it most — things like a nationwide, province-by-province guide for everything, from tax information, resource guides, local support groups to tips on managing finances.
“It’s a very exciting concept, and one we’ve been focused on exploring and pursuing since our first consultative session with caregivers of children in 2013,” said Marjorie Morrison, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Action Network and Interim Chair of the MOSAIICC Working Group. “We are pleased to be working alongside parents and other key stakeholders to make the dream of a fully functional national Information Portal become a reality. To raise the core funds necessary to advance the early stages of the project, we are appealing to Canadians through our 4MOSAIICC fundraising campaign efforts and our key messages shared via social media throughout the month of September.”
With only 17 children’s treatment centres in Canada, many families have to travel back and forth to another city for their child’s treatment, which can add up to thousands of dollars for gas, hotels and meals. Even parking costs at downtown hospitals run to hundreds of dollars a month. Children sometimes need drugs and other medical supports that are not covered by the health system. And that’s only half the picture. Parents often need to take time off work to care for their child, resulting in reduced income or even permanent job loss. Worries about finances, and more specifically how to pay the bills, are becoming more and more evident.
Wendy Bell and Dan Mornar wanted to do something to help other families who find themselves in the same situation, so they jumped at the chance to become founding members of the Canadian Cancer Action Network MOSAIICC project. Wendy states, “We’re elated that other patient organizations and individuals have committed to work with us to help make the MOSAIICC Information Portal a reality.”
Efforts are now underway to clear the biggest hurdle — raising the funds needed to move the first stage of the project forward through a coordinated social media and online fundraising effort. “This kind of financial information when I was going through my son’s treatments would have saved me a lot of money and a whole lot of worry about my financial distress,” concludes Wendy Bell.
To support 4MOSAIICC with a donation, Canadians are urged to give online at: http://igg.me/at/4MOSAIICC/x/11725552
To learn more about the project, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org