Before coming to work at South Central Cancer Resource Administrative Resource (SCCR) Coordinator Leora Hamm admitted she hadn't really thought of the financial aspect of having cancer and the pressures that come with treatment and going to various appointments regularly.  

"I always thought about the emotional and the physical toll having cancer is on a family and on the patient, but never ever thought about the financial part of it. A lot of people can't work and they're at home not making a paycheck or maybe don't have insurance. And then there's people that maybe have insurance, but their costs go up so incredibly because now they're driving to Winnipeg. Everyday they're paying for parking in Winnipeg. They're paying for their food. Sometimes the roads are bad, so they're paying for a couple of hotel nights. It is expensive to have cancer." 

SCCR covers a large area of Manitoba from Carwright, Pilot Mound and Manitou to Morris, Emerson and Altona over to Carman and South to the U.S border. Patients find support from this donor-based organization in a variety of areas, the largest being transportation.  

"If you are a client of ours and you are unable to drive yourself, maybe have no friends or family that are able to drive you, we do have about 60 volunteer drivers in our catchment area as well as six coordinators. So, those volunteer drivers will come and pick you up from your home, take you to your appointment, and bring you right back home again. Then we here at the office pay the fuel of the volunteer drivers, so there's no cost to the cancer patient."  

Volunteer Driver Shirley Froese(Submitted photo) Volunteer Driver Shirley Froese

Hamm said without government funding or support from Cancer Care, the community support from donors makes a big difference especially for seniors or other people who are not comfortable driving, sometimes daily, to Winnipeg. 

"It does have a huge impact. We have many immigrants in our area who also have no family or maybe you do have family, but they all work, and you don't want to bother your family to take you in for appointments. Sometimes it's people that maybe don't have a reliable vehicle that just have a vehicle that can't drive day in and day out in the wintertime on icy roads. We get all sorts of clients that come in needing our help with that particular program and it's just huge. It's huge for them." 

Here is a story about a couple who have benefitted from the program. 



Hamm said this kind of programming is very unique thanks to the generosity of the volunteers and donors. 

"We are the only Resource Center in all of Manitoba that provides this exact treatment and service to the province. There are other resource centers that provide some sort of program, but nothing like what we are able to do. So, I'm proud to work here. I come home every day, sometimes I hear sad stories, but I also hear a lot of stories of hope." 

Volunteer or make a donation on the SCCR website. Tickets go on sale for the April 25th Beauty in Bloom Fashion Show, March 15th.