Help available for cancer patients

Cancer Support Resource Program

Cancer Support Resource Program

By Donna McMillan

FOR the past 23 years, Gail Catherwood has been the Director of the CIBC Run for the Cure. Now retired from the bank, she is still a force behind the run, which raised $60,000-plus over the past two years.

Her involvement in the Run led to her being part of the organizing committee in 2008 to create a Cancer Support Resource Program to help Norfolk Cancer patients. Today, Gail remains one of the two founding members on the Board of eight. She is also the Board Chair.

Cancer Support Resource Program, a registered charity, is “dedicated to assisting those touched by cancer to take charge of their choices. Networking with government and community agencies, institutions, businesses, service groups, and individuals, we offer a variety of emotional and supportive services,” says the organization’s mission statement.

There are currently three support groups, Gail told the Maple Leaf; one in Port Dover and two in Simcoe. The majority are women, she said.

Financial Support Available

The organization’s biggest support, she shared, is financial help for people going through their cancer journey. She gave a number of examples. Parking at Juravinski or Brantford hospitals is $20 a day. CSRP will provide parking passes for each institution. They will buy gas cards as well, she said.
“We’ve also given gift cards to pharmacies for the purchase of Boost or Ensure.”

Gail mentioned a 68-year-old woman who underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy. Now, she is looking at radiation and doesn’t have a ride. This organization seeks out resources, can provide some financial help or pay the $100 required by the Cancer Society in order to start with a volunteer driver, she explained.

Other examples of financial support, she shared, included helping to pay for a housekeeper, pay for oxygen, dental care as a result of chemo damage, a new mattress for a woman who had to spend 22 hours a day in bed and the list goes on. Sometimes, it has just been an opportunity for someone to get Swiss Chalet, she said.

“We’re just here to help regular people in Norfolk County.” Gail noted there was no service like this when her father was dealing with cancer 40 years ago.

Dependent on donations

CSRP is dependent on local donations. Often they have to think outside the box and find local resources to help people get through their cancer.

“This is a great charity to get behind,” she said. All the money stays in Norfolk. “We raise it here; spend it here.”

She also noted the organization’s expenses are minimal. The only thing they pay for is a 24-hour answering service so that callers have someone responding immediately.

Call for information

The phone number is 519-426 – 0219. There is no office, she said. “We meet at my dining room table once a month.”

Recipients of assistance do complete an application form and need to prove they have cancer. Gail said there are also survivors who are willing to reach out to listen and help others. She also mentioned there is no barrier in terms of how high or low a person’s income might be. There is no discrimination in the help that might be needed and provided.

Anyone wishing to donate to the local support group, can visit their website at or do an e-mail transfer to

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