Why Our Help is Needed

Imagine…

  • being an out of town patient needing to stay near the Ottawa Hospital for treatment, but having no money for accommodation since your budgeting barely covers rent;
  • having to come in for daily treatment, but you can’t afford transportation costs or parking fees;
  • spending a month away from home and not being able to afford the telephone hook up to speak with your family; or
  • being alone without even a television to distract you from your pain and worries.

As patients fight the battle of their lives, Little Angels assists those in financial need as they struggle to meet the many challenges that arise in the course of their treatment and recovery. These challenges can include unexpected costs such as parking, accommodation, childcare, bus tickets, caregiver costs, travel, and other non-medical costs frequently associated with treatment. These costs “can easily exceed $1200 per month just to support basic needs” according to Dominique LeMay, former social worker with Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, in her Challenge Magazine article.

The Times are Changing

Blood cancer treatment has been revolutionized in the last 15 years. Survival rates have soared and today, rather than being admitted to the hospital, most patients are treated through outpatient programs at highly specialized and centralized medical facilities.

As a result, the Ottawa Hospital handles over 35,000 outpatient visits annually and operates 33 inpatient beds for malignant hematology and stem cell transplants. As well as the local Ottawa area, patients routinely come from Cornwall, Belleville and North Bay. This catchment area expands to include the Atlantic Provinces, Western Quebec and Northern Ontario for more specialized treatment.

Another result of this treatment revolution is that many living expenses that used to be born by the hospitals are now the responsibility of the blood cancer patients and their families at a time when many are least able to cope. Parking, bus tickets, childcare, accommodation, food, caregiver and travel costs can all be necessities for effective access to treatment.

Some outpatients are treated daily for several months and those coming in from out of town often do not have anyone in Ottawa to support them while undergoing treatment. Some patients aren’t able to keep working and do not have disability insurance, which means living expenses most of us take for granted may simply be unmanageable.