Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer is a Canadian registered not-for-profit charity. This charity is not government funded and relies solely on community fundraising and private donations in order to assist approximately 200 Northern Ontario families annually with the costs of travel for pediatric cancer treatment.
The organization was founded by parents of children who had already battled cancer, and they strove to change that path for the families that would follow them. The Board of Directors has a deep personal understanding of the difficulties these families face. Many are parents of children who have battled cancer themselves. They make it their mission to be one step ahead. Parents have often said “the people in the organization know what we need before we do”. The charity is celebrating 20 years of service this year!
NOFCC ‘s mission is to provide hope, support, education and advocacy to families who have a child diagnosed with cancer. They serve families both on and off treatment, and bereaved families.
It is suggested that 1/3 of a family’s after-tax income is spent after diagnosis, due to out of pocket expenses for travel and treatment related costs. There are also several things that families need support with during and after treatment.
The charity offers 22 programs:
- Financial Assistance Plans for those at home and away
- Reimbursements for parking, accommodations and transportation
- Emergency Funding
- Medication and Medical related funding for things not covered by OHIP or private insurance
- Palliative Care which provides home maintenance, meals, and funds for funeral costs
- Counselling in various settings (individual, family and child)
- Bereavement Supports (resources, counselling, a personal gift)
- Therapies such as speech, music, art and language
- Tutoring Program
- Post Secondary Bursaries
- Housekeeping services for families on active treatment and those in palliative care
- Fertility Preservation Financial Support for children affected by their treatment
- Cord Blood Banking Financial Support
- Support Groups and On-Call Support System
- Special Events that bring the families together such as the Christmas Party and Movie Night in the Park
- Gift cards for Gas, Groceries, Phone Cards and Tim Hortons
- Additional funds for families having prolonged treatments (Bone Marrow Transplants, CAR-T-call Therapy, Experimental Trials, etc.)
- Laptop and tablet lending system to help families stay in touch, to keep children occupied while travelling, to continue to do schoolwork when possible, and various other reasons.
The organization also provides EMLA patches to the Northeast Cancer Centre. These patches numb the skin of the children, making accessing their ports and having other procedures with needles completed with less pain.
The support provided by the organization is unique in that very real, immediate needs of the families are being addressed on a day-to-day basis. Programs are constantly being reassessed, new ones added, and existing programs modified to suit the current needs of NOFCC clients. Pediatric cancer differs from that affecting adults mostly in the impact on the whole family, and often involves much longer periods of treatment which takes the children away from home for months or years at a time. There is minimal support for these daily needs elsewhere in the province.
NOFCC also maintains a website, a Facebook Page, as well a newsletter will be available coming this summer. NOFCC also provides advocacy for it’s families by leading and participating in Childhood Cancer Awareness events and campaigns, and on matters that are important to them.
The organization is a small one serving a huge area. The NOFCC has one office for all of Northern Ontario, located here in Sudbury. It is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors and they employ two staff, one of which is a cancer survivor and whose family utilized the NOFCC when she was receiving treatment. Andrea Lamarche is the Administrative Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator at NOFCC who was hired in July 2018. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was 15 years old. She is thriving and now helping to give back to a charity that means a lot to her and her family. Dayna Caruso is the Executive Director and has been with the organization for more than 6 years. It was very important to NOFCC to offer this recent employment opportunity to the member families to ensure that the funds the organization was spending was essentially still going back to the families that it serves.
To learn more about NOFCC, how you can help, or to donate, please visit the website at www.nofcc.ca
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1901 Lasalle Blvd., Sudbury, ON P3A 2A3