This is a sponsored post on behalf of The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS).
All opinions are my own and were not influenced by any parties.
Most of the time, what I share on this blog is related to my personal experiences. However, often that has to do with money or parenting. But today I am going to get a bit more personal with you.
When my sister, Kerry, was born in 1975, the doctors instantly knew something was wrong. They conducted numerous tests and then the diagnosis came.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF).
My parents were crushed to learn that their baby girl would now face a life filled with challenges. At the time of the diagnosis, they were told that she would not live past the age of five.
But, she proved them all wrong.
I remember growing up and watching her go through rounds of IV therapy when she would get pneumonia. I personally helped her with her breathing treatments before school each day. And, when my dad left us in 1987, I stepped up and helped even more by taking care of her when my mom would have to leave on business trips.
Kerry proved everyone wrong. She made it well past the five years she was predicted to live. She lived for just more than 29 years. We lost her on November 11, 2004.
She held on long enough to become an aunt (when my daughter, Emma, was born in September 2004). Then, she proudly stood at the front of the church on October 31, 2004, as Emma’s Godmother. She witnessed her baptism and then headed home. She passed away 11 days later.
The pain that my mom felt through my sister’s entire life is something I wish on no parent. We have to find a way to help these children and their families fight these illnesses.
One such illness is cancer. I know the pain of watching my mom lose my sister to CF and can’t imagine being a mom or dad having to watch a child go through chemo or the suffering that comes with childhood cancer.
Because of what my family went through, I’ve always been an advocate for organizations helping families battling childhood cancer. One such non-profit organization that I support is The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS).
What is the NCCS?
The NCCS is a non-profit organization headquartered in St. Louis, MO, that provides support to families navigating the world of childhood cancer and survivorship. Over the past 30 plus years, they have provided nearly $66 million in support to the more than 43,000 children. The NCCS takes a “no matter what” approach to help families stay strong, stay positive and stay together.
What is the NCCS’ Transportation Assistance Fund?
When a family has to travel across the country to find the right treatment for their child, the financial strains go beyond hospital and medication costs. The family members have to worry about travel costs, too. Insurance does not cover the expenses incurred to get a child to lifesaving treatment.
If the child does not stay in the hospital for treatment, the family must also cover lodging expenses to stay near the hospital. If you have paid for hotel stays recently, you know how much that can cost!
The NCCS helps by covering those mileage, airfare and lodging expenses, so parents don’t have to stress about how to pay to get their child to the best treatment possible. In the past year alone, the NCCS has funded more than 5,000,000 miles. Yes, that’s 5 million miles!
How the NCCS’ Emergency Assistance Fund Helps Families
In addition to the Transportation Assistance Fund, the NCCS also provides an annual stipend in emergency assistance to families who have a child that has been inpatient or away from home for (15) consecutive days within the past three months.
This money can be used to help families cover anything they need from their mortgage or rent to utilities or treatment-related expenses such as meals away from home, prescriptions, and parking.
Learn About the NCCS’ Beyond the Cure Survivorship Program
The NCCS doesn’t stop at supporting kids during their treatment. The NCCS’ Beyond the Cure survivorship program educates survivors and their families on life after cancer, especially regarding the “late effects” of treatment which can stem more from the treatment than cancer itself. Beyond the Cure also awards college scholarships to childhood cancer survivors through the Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship Program. More than $1.2 million has been awarded to childhood cancer survivors to help them achieve their future goals.
Financial Impact of Cancer
Fortunately, most of us will never deal with the financial burdens associated with childhood cancer. However, more than 15,000 children are diagnosed every year with cancer. Unfortunately, parents who have to face this daunting reality also have high costs associated with cancer treatment. In fact, on average families pay more than $10,000 a year in the U.S. And, 1 in 4 families have lost over 40% of their household income because of these costs.
If you are one of the families struggling financially due to the burdens associated with childhood cancer, there are a few things you can do:
Contact Your Creditors
When you are struggling to pay your bills, take the time to call your creditors. Let them know your situation and see if they can make arrangements to allow more time to pay.
Find Local Support Programs
Check with your county or other charities to ask for help (i.e., the NCCS, Salvation Army, etc.). These organizations can sometimes offer to help cover your utility bills when you struggle to pay your bills.
Set Up a GoFundMe
People across the country love to help and support families who are really in need. You can set up a GoFundMe page, and people will contribute so you can use those funds to help pay your mortgage and other expenses.
Donate, If You Can
As a mom, I am eternally grateful that my kids are healthy. But, having lived with a sibling who was sick and watching my mom struggle, I also understand and have empathy for parents dealing with these struggles. The simple way I can help and show I care is by giving to organizations like the NCCS. Small amounts can make a significant impact. Please consider making a donation by visiting theNCCS.org.
About The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS)
The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a not-for-profit organization providing support to families making their way through the daunting world of childhood cancer and survivorship. With over 30 years of experience serving more than 43,000 children, the NCCS is able to take a “no matter what” approach to help families stay strong, stay positive and stay together. The NCCS has been recognized as a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity and earned a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency. For more information call 314-241-1600, visit theNCCS.org, or on Facebook and Twitter.