Who is Can Assist?

At Can Assist, we are committed to ensuring that all country people, regardless of where they live, have access to cancer treatment and care. By providing support for accommodation and financial assistance to people from rural and regional areas, we ensure that country people are given the same opportunities and choices about the kind of treatment they receive as people in city centres.

Since 1955, Can Assist's network of branches have grown to over 55. These branches raise vital funds to provide direct support to those in their local communities affected by cancer. The Sydney office raises funds for all those who live in a community without a local Can Assist branch.

Merveen tells her Can Assist story

“We as a family discovered the kindness of Can Assist back in 1993 when Alice our daughter, was diagnosed with terminal Leukaemia at age three. We lived in the country and Can Assist helped us with travel expenses and airfares. This help eased the financial pressure as we had four children, the youngest being just nine months old, all living on one wage. The organisation came to my aid a second time in June 2017, when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I was offered a huge support network for which I will always be grateful. Can Assist supplied the accommodation and some travel costs once again, taking the pressure off us financially. I work in the medical field so was shocked when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer but quickly realised I couldn’t change it and it was not going to beat me. I could never say “why me” because if it wasn’t me it could be someone I love dearly and that wouldn’t be fair at all. I honestly never thought I would have to face Oncology and Clinics again after Alice’s diagnosis. But here I am.
Being a citrus farmer based in Griffith, I had to take a leave of absence from work for the duration of my treatment and recovery, so having accommodation expenses and some travel costs met was a godsend. My family were comforted with the fact they knew I was safe and living in a treatment free zone. A place where I could cry, laugh or sing if I wanted to, and be able to chat to others receiving the same treatment. It was very therapeutic to sit around the breakfast or dinner table and hear how everyone was faring, we became a family that began as strangers.
The offer of assistance from Can Assist was a huge relief. Without it, I would have had to stay in a motel with all the associated costs and the loneliness that comes with that environment. The alternative was a 450km daily round trip and an enormous financial burden. Our family and my sisters and their families have been involved with fundraising for Can Assist in both Cootamundra and Wagga Wagga for years, since they helped us with Alice’s expenses. Never did I think I would have to ask Can Assist for help again. But we are very grateful for their assistance. Thank you Can Assist.”

Can Assist provides its services to help bridge the gap between city and country cancer patients:                            
  • 21% of people in Outer Regional/Remote/Very Remote areas waited longer than they felt it was acceptable to get an appointment with a GP. (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018 'Australia's Health'. Australia's Health Series no. 16. AUS 221, Canberra: AIHW)
  • There are 94% fewer oncologists in the rural healthcare workforce, compared to major cities. (A Rural Context, A Rural Perspective: Cancer, Garvan Research Foundation, 2016)
  • The further a cancer patient lives from a major city, the more likely they are to die within five years of diagnosis. (National Rural Health Alliance, 2012 .'Cancer in Rural Australia' Fact Sheet. Canberra, National Rural Health Alliance )  
  • We provide financial assistance through our branch network.
  • We offer supported accommodation at Lilier Lodge in Wagga Wagga in partnership with Cancer Council NSW.