So you are diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (bone marrow cancer) or Leukemia. It is time for a crash course in cancer education. Also, if you have lost your job due to your treatments, what the hell are you going to do to make ends meet in the bills department?
For information about Multiple Myeloma, you can’t beat:
International Myeloma Foundation: myeloma.org/ for information and emotional support, including area support groups.
Multiple Myeloma Foundation: themmrf.org/ for information including new drugs that are “in the pipeline.”
For information about Leukemia and Lymphoma, the best is:
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: lls.org/ for information and support. They also have some financial assistance programs, which will be addressed below.
Of course, there is also The American Cancer Society: cancer.org/ for information and support.
For financial support, you should Google: cancer financial support. Be prepared, you will get a ton of different listings. Unfortunately, you will need to slog through each of them to determine if they apply to you. Some are cancer type specific and some are geographic area specific, and most require proof of financial need. You should also ask your oncologist if their office has a person on staff to help you find local sources for financial assistance. All of this is really a difficult burden on top of dealing with your cancer treatments, but unless you are financially sound, we really don’t have much choice in the matter. Just keep at it and chase them down.
Here are some of the organizations that I found who can help with grants and financial support. Most of them are only able to offer support when they have funds “on hand” which is not always year-round.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: lls.org/ They have a $500 travel assistance program. They also have a separate support fund specifically for people with Multiple Myeloma.
Patient Advocate Foundation: copays.org/ They have a program that will help pay for your co-payment on your medicines.
Daniel’s Grace Foundation: danielsgrace.org/ They are a great, all-volunteer organization that serves the Hampton Roads, VA area. Their mission is “to ease the financial burden of cancer.” They also have a scholarship program to help student whose lives have been affected by cancer.
Mercy Medical Angels: mercymedical.org/ Their mission is “to ensure that no one in need is denied medical care because of a lack of transportation.” In my case, they provided a round trip airfare for my stem cell donor.
Angel Wheels: angelwheels.org/ They are “dedicated to providing non-emergency, long-distance ground transportation to financially disadvantaged, ambulatory patients who are traveling for treatment. “ A typical trip supported by Angel Wheels does not exceed 300 miles (one-way), and they do not normally handle trips within a local area or community. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis, routinely for cancer patients traveling daily for treatment. Angel Wheels to Healing utilizes the following resources for assisting patients: Gas cards (provided to help off-set fuel cost for patients), Bus Tickets (Greyhound, Trailways, etc.) and Train Tickets (Amtrak).
Family Reach: familyreach.org/ They are a national nonprofit dedicated to alleviating the financial burden of cancer.
The Bone Marrow Foundation: bonemarrow.org/ They provide financial assistance and resources for patients, caregivers and survivors.
Lee’s Friends: leesfriends.org/ They are a Hampton Roads, VA based organization whose primary mission is “To offer person to person help and needed emotional and practical support to cancer patients and their families who are facing the crisis of diagnosis and treatment of cancer.”
Good Days: mygooddays.org/ For support and financial assistance.
Patient Resource: patientresource.com/Financial_Resources.aspx This is a lengthy, but VERY comprehensive list of organizations that provide support. Again, you just need to ge through them one by one to determine if they are a “fit” for you.
The Actors Fund: actorsfund.org/ They can provide some short term support “for everyone in entertainment. “
Also, most pharmaceutical companies have financial assistance programs to help if you cannot afford their drugs.
Don’t despair. You can do it and find help! GOOD LUCK!!