Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer (NOFCC) is a not-for-profit organization that serves families all across Northern Ontario who have a child diagnosed with cancer. NOFCC serves families on treatment, those off treatment and in follow up care, as well as bereaved families. NOFCC‘s goal is to alleviate the financial burden associated with travel across Ontario for pediatric oncology care, to provide hope, support, education and advocacy to families who need it. The organization was started by a group of parents in 1998, who wanted to provide support to families that would follow in their footsteps. NOFCC is not publicly, government, or hospital funded, our volunteer based charity relies solely on donations from the community in order to serve families. Although every family facing childhood cancer is referred to NOFCC for services, the families served by NOFCC are those who are the most in need, those without private/company insurance, families with limited available income and those that a require financial support in order to treat their children. The services provided by NOFCC impact the time available to parents to care for their children. By eliminating the financial burden on families, we create the opportunity for a family to choose to have one parent leave their job to travel with the child without fear of financial devastation. The programs also offer educational support to ensure the sick children stay on track or get caught up once treatment reaches the maintenance phase. The reality for many of these parents is the out-of-pocket expenses continue for several years after diagnosis.
Many children need to remain on oral chemotherapy treatments for 2-3 years, and oddly enough these prescriptions are not covered by OHIP.
The cost of this treatment can be literally unmanageable for parents, especially those without private/company insurance. It is estimated that out-of-pocket treatment related expenses can be upward of $5000 a month depending on the situation of the individual. For example, if the Ronald McDonald House is occupied a family is forced to stay in a hotel for the duration of their stay. For some this can mean 2-3 months in accommodations, which calculates to thousands of dollars, not to mention the costs associated with travel such as parking, gas, car maintenance, etc.