The breast cancer patients we support possess a wide range of personal circumstances…single, married, divorced, widowed, living on social assistance, patients on disability pensions and even a married dad.
We provide financial assistance to daughters, wives, sisters, friends and colleagues, working women, young mothers, single mothers, students, single women, the self-employed, women and men living on social assistance and those living without benefit of extended family or support networks, patients in the earliest stage of breast cancer, and those diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer.
Many of the patients we support tell us that the financial crisis in which they find themselves is often more stressful than the diagnosis and treatment.
A few facts about the patients we support:
*76% live on less than $25,000 per year during the year they are in treatment
*40% are single mothers
*48% are younger than 50 years of age
Join us as we build a compassionate community of support.
Introducing the ‘Women We Know’
A Family Day podcast series about our BCSF families
The Breast Cancer Support Fund introduces The Women We Know podcast series. Join us as we hear from Donna, Wendy, Daniela and Sharon – and their families – as we discuss the impact of cancer on their lives, their finances, and their relationships.
Episode 1: The Cost of Breast Cancer with BCSF founder Donna Sheehan and her son Patrick Voisin
Episode 2: Through a Mother’s Eyes with Wendy Topham
Episode 3: Supporting the Girls as a Single Mother with Daniela Pagliaro
Episode 4: The Cost of Breast Cancer with Donna and Patrick, Part Two
Episode 6: Sharon Folkes Hall talks about finding support in her community.
When Donna Sheehan, was first diagnosed in 2003, she became aware of the financial struggles that breast cancer patients faced. Following this realization, Donna founded the Breast Cancer Support Fund (BCSF), in hopes that she could help many women, both financially and emotionally, on their recovery journeys.
Through her commitment to BCSF along with her own personal experience, Donna became familiar with the impact a diagnosis has on the rest of the family. While in many cases young family members may not understand what is going on. “I was a teenager when my mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer,” says Patrick, Donna’s son, now 32. “Hearing that kind of news kind of rocks your world, but having this happen to our family actually brought us closer.”
Still, there are still many struggles for Canadian families impacted by breast cancer, including paying the rent, affording groceries or coordinating childcare. Donna decided to dedicate her time helping the women, and their families, who need it the most.
Episode 2: Meet Jill Topham
Mother of cancer patient and BCSF recipient, Jill Topham, Wendy Topham stresses the importance of the fund and what it provides, both financial and emotional support.Topham lost her daughter, Jill, in 2016 after a long battle with breast cancer. With the help of the fund, Wendy stood by her daughter’s side every step of the way. “There really is nothing like it, 100 per cent of the proceeds goes to helping women in need.” Wendy keeps Jill’s legacy and spirit alive by continuously supporting the fund from her home in Oshawa.
Episode 3: Meet Daniela Pagliaro Listen here
BCSF spokesperson and breast cancer survivor, Daniela Pagliaro, explains the abrupt impact her diagnosis had on her, being a single parent with a teenage daughter, “Honestly, the finances were more stressful than the cancer stuff. No one was there to help us pay rent.” Pagliaro explains. “Here in Canada, we think about health care being free,” she adds highlighting the financial burdens that are not always considered when hearing from breast cancer patients in Canada.
Episode 4: Meet Sharon Folkes Hall Listen Here
Sharon was completing a Masters of Social Work until she was diagnosed with triple negative breast, an aggressive form of breast cancer more often diagnosed in women of colour. Sharon talks about the significance of finding community.
These are the Women We Know.