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The Canadian Breast Cancer Support Fund is dedicated to providing breast cancer patients with the short-term financial support they need to focus, simply and solely, on fighting their disease.

There is a lack of awareness about the unexpected costs associated with a breast cancer diagnosis and for many patients who were already struggling to make ends meet before they were diagnosed, the economic impact of their diagnosis can be devastating.

Many Canadians do not have private insurance coverage for short or long term disability through their workplace. If employment has been interrupted for a period of time before diagnosis, (such as maternity leave, full-time enrollment is school or a retraining program, unemployment), patients are not eligible for government assistance (Federal sick benefits provide 15 weeks regardless of the length of time in treatment; which for some patients can take up to a year). Many patients do not have the financial security to endure many months of lost wages.

Most of the breast cancer patients we support are already having a difficult time making ends meet and the extra burden of being diagnosed with beast cancer often leaves them exhausted, overwhelmed and struggling to cover the cost of their basic necessities. Indeed, many of the patients have an extremely low income, with a significant number are living at or below the poverty line.

Approximately seventy percent of our support helps to over the cost of food and shelter. We also reimburse patients for medications, prosthetics, hospital parking, childcare, various treatments and restorative therapies.

The patients receiving our support are married, divorced, single, widowed; working women, young mothers, students, the unemployed, the self-employed; men and women living alone and without benefit of extended family to rely on for support; women in the earliest stage of breast cancer and those living with metastatic breast cancer.

We are all hoping for a world where breast cancer doesn’t exist, but right now, our goal is to build a ‘community of support’ that enables CBCSF to provide breast cancer patients with the short-term financial support they need to focus on fighting their disease.

We are grateful that the Bras Family Foundation has become a generous partner in helping us improve the lives of breast cancer patients.

“Can you afford to be diagnosed with breast cancer”?  For too many Canadians, the answer to that question is a definitive “no”.    

Of the more than 26,000 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, many are women who are financially insecure prior to being diagnosed; business-owners, single mothers, students, people on social assistance, people whose employment depends on contract work in the gig economy.

The Bras Family Foundation, a foundation dedicated to improving the lives of cancer patients, was an early believer in our work, and their dedicated support has truly made a difference for Canadian women living in poverty and battling breast cancer.

The truth about breast cancer is that the financial burdens can be just as devastating as the physical ones which is why the Breast Cancer Support Fund bridges the gap between the financial reality faced by breast cancer patients and the limited financial assistance available.    

By helping patients pay for basic living expenses such as food and shelter as well as medications, prosthetics, wigs, transportation costs, hospital parking, restorative therapies and medical devices, we are reducing the burden for patients who are sick, vulnerable and fighting for their lives.

Many of the Canadians battling breast cancer borrow money from family and friends and frequently return to work before they are fully healed.  In the information included in the applications we receive from patients, we see that patients are often carrying credit card debt due to the loss in income as a result of being in treatment for many months.  Forty percent of the women we support are single mothers.  It is frightening enough for children when Mom is sick, but when food insecurity is an issue, stress levels are high for everyone in the family.

We are truly grateful for the support of the Bras Family Foundation. Together, we help breast cancer patients reduce stress during a time in their life that they should be focused on getting well.

Donna Sheehan
Founder, breast cancer survivor

I apologize if it took me long to email you to thank you for the cheque you mailed.  Trying to recover from treatments plus a toddler running around— life is just very hectic! I wish I could say more than a simple thank you. The work you are doing to our community is selfless, courageous and INSPIRING. I can’t thank you enough for the kindness, support and generosity you’ve extended to me and to my family. WE are endlessly grateful.

Thank you! GOD BLESS.

Sincerely, Abigail

"Thank you so very much for the financial and mental support. This has meant the absolute world to me and my family. The financial support has helped me to keep with the cost of living and focus on treatment. I was struggling to keep up with my bills and trying to raise children, I didn't know if I could start radiation because I couldn't afford to remain off work. I couldn't think about starting radiation which is 2 hours from where I live when I couldn't afford the treatments I am getting here in town. The basic cost of living then getting to and from the hospital and parking really added up when I did chemo. Thank you for understanding and truly helping me."

"I wish to send you a heartfelt thank you for the financial aid that I recently received from BCSF.  Your support has helped me tremendously, both by easing the ongoing stress and by making my daily struggles more manageable. Having lived six years ‘cancer free’ only to be recently re-diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer, I was not prepared for life’s changes and adjustments that were to ensue. Being single and living with these emotional and financial hardships are very overwhelming as I’m sure you can imagine. BCSF’s financial support has truly been a blessing and a wonderful reminder that there are people and organizations that do care and want to help."

"Thank you so much for helping me. Everything for the last year has been going wrong in my life. This is the first good thing to happen that I can remember for some time."   JP

"It is an overwhelmingly frightening time in a person’s life when they hear they have cancer.  Their entire world has changed and nothing seems normal or safe.  But the public doesn’t often understand the devastating impact financially that occurs for many.  The women that I have referred to this program have always been independent women who helped others rather than needing help.  Now they find themselves having to choose between rent and food.  This is not an exaggeration.  The BCSF is one of the vital supports that enable women to survive on a day-to-day basis while they are striving to save their lives."

- Andrea Turner, Penticton Oncology Clinic Social Worker, British Columbia

When people talk about breast cancer, they talk about hope. They talk about pain and suffering, treatments and medications. They talk about loss of hair and their surgeries and scars. But they don't talk about money. People don't talk about the cost of breast cancer. About how your benefits will run out before your cancer is gone. How breast cancer patients struggle, not to survive, but to afford to survive. People don't talk about that. But we do.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Support Fund provides the financial support needed to help breast cancer patients fight this devastating disease.

And we couldn't do it without the generous support of the Bras Family Foundation.

With your gift to us this year we were able to help the following breast cancer patients:

Emma, aged 29 and a single mother of two young children, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was on maternity leave. The social worker who signed Emma's application wrote us a letter on her behalf, describing Emma as a wonderful young mother who has been struggling financially as she supports herself and her two children on a very low income. Emma received $2,000 in financial assistance

Tara, aged 42 is the mother of a 3 year old. The family has endured a number of financial hardships that has left them struggling financially for the past few years and still find it difficult to cover the costs of basic necessities. We provided $2,000 in financial assistance to Tara.

Jessica, a 33 yr old mother of a two children under 5, was diagnosed in 2011 and then diagnosed with breast cancer that metastasized to her brain. Her husband has served as caregiver for Jessica and their young children and has struggled with employment in the past couple of years. We provided $2,000 in financial assistance to Juliann.

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39 Old Mill Rd. # 1002 Toronto ON M8X 1G6     416.233.7410        www.cbcsf.ca
Charitable Registration No. 83661-2804-RR0001

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