Cervical Cancer Relief Fund at PMHF

Cervical Cancer Relief Fund at Princess Margaret Hospital foundation (PMHF)

We created the Tara Fund in 2002 with the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation to help offer care through financial relief to underprivileged women fighting cervical cancer. These women’s experiences painfully highlight the harsh financial burden that can be caused by cervical cancer. Most of these women must stop working to focus on their care and find themselves living on one or no salary. As well, this adds to their living and household costs with additional expenses not covered by medical care (hospital transportation, parking, extended childcare fees, etc.). This causes additional unnecessary stress on these families during an already highly vulnerable and harrowing period.

~ SW

SW is a 36-year-old patient diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer in August 2012. At the time of diagnosis, she was 22 weeks pregnant. She started chemotherapy during her pregnancy and her baby was delivered at 31 weeks. She then had a full course of chemo/radiation, which was completed in December 2012. On January 9 she saw Dr. Dodge on an urgent basis and was found to have recurrence of her disease. At the time of writing this request, the patient was admitted to Toronto General Hospital for a surgical procedure called anterior exenteration. This surgery removes the bladder, urethra, vagina, uterus, and all tissues lateral to the pelvic sidewall. SW is married and has three children. Her husband works in the car manufacturing industry as a moulder, but at this time he is on sick leave, due to anxiety caused by this highly stressful situation. He is currently on Employment Insurance Sick Benefits, thus is he only receiving 55% of his income. Before her diagnosis, SW worked as a waitress and she is now on maternity leave, also receiving Employment Insurance Benefits. She too is only receiving 55% of her salary. At this time this family is not able to meet their regular household expenses. We asked the fund to cover one month of SW’s mortgage ($1,300) and an extra $700 to cover the costs of transportation to and from the hospital plus to assist with general household expenses during this stressful time. The full request was $2,000.


~ BS

BS is a 54-year-old cervical cancer patient who was diagnosed in 2011. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment plus brachytherapy, which was completed in April 2012. Unfortunately, she had a stroke in June 2012 and an ultrasound at that time revealed liver and lung metastases. She has recently recommenced chemotherapy. BS is married and has five children ranging in ages from 19 to 37. Before the diagnosis she worked as a personal support worker. Her husband worked as a roofer, but is now on sick leave to an injury. This family has experienced significant financial stress due to the illness. She is currently waiting for her long-term disability benefits to start, so at this time their family income is minimal and she is unable to meet all her financial commitments. We asked for funds to cover two months of her mortgage payments ($1,000) plus two months of their heating and hydro bills ($600) to help reduce their financial strain during this difficult time. The total gift was $1,600.


~ LT

LT is a 34 year old cervical cancer patient, diagnosed in October 2012. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment plus brachytherapy. Her treatment is now complete. LT is married and has two daughters, ages 8 and 3. Before her diagnosis, she worked in a nail salon and also tried to be with her children full-time. Her husband works in a factory. LT and her family have experienced significant financial stress, due to the illness. She had been unable to work at all during that time and they were solely reliant on her spouse’s income. His hourly rate is $16.00. We asked the fund to assist this family by paying for one month of their mortgage. This request took place just before Christmas and the gift of $1,200 allowed the patient extra funds to buy gifts for her children for Christmas.

~ JC

JC is a 42-year-old cervical cancer patient. She was diagnosed in February of this year and she is undergoing concurrent chemo/radiation. She has two sons: a 5-year-old and a 19-year-old. Her older son studies engineering at McMaster University and lives at the university residence. JC’s home is in Barrie, but during the week she is staying at the PMH Lodge. While she is in Toronto her younger son is living at the home of his babysitter. This babysitter has been her son’s caregiver since he was 1-year-old and they have a very close relationship. Prior to this illness JC was working in a factory that makes gas fireplaces. Since she is not able to work during treatment she has had to go onto Employment Insurance Sick Benefits. As such, her monthly income is approximately $1,720.00. She receives some child support but these payments are not consistent. Her rent is $1,100 and she continues to cover regular household expenses. During this very stressful time we requested from the Fund a payment of $1,100 to cover one month’s worth of JC’s rent, plus $500 to provide additional financial support while she is on a significantly reduced income.


~ CR

CR is a 33-year-old cervical cancer patient. She was diagnosed in February 2013 and is currently undergoing chemo/radiation. She is married and has three children, ages 1, 5 and 10. Her spouse is in the process of applying for status in Canada, but to do so he needs to return to his country of origin to start the process. Up until now, he has been working in construction but it has been difficult for him to find consistent work due to his immigration concerns. Furthermore, as of March 20 he will no longer be in the country, therefore this family will be in significant financial need. CR only receives money from the Child Tax Benefit and intermittent child support from her ex-husband. She is on the waitlist for subsidized daycare and for subsidized housing. She regularly accesses the North York Food Bank. When I first met with CR she was in the process of applying for disability benefits and since March 1 she has been approved. This will cover a number of her expenses but due to her spouses’ lack of work and upcoming departure, covering her rent has been very difficult. The sum of $1,340 from the Tara Fun to was requested to cover CR’s rent for one month. This was to help her catch up on her other expenses that she has had difficulty covering over the last few months.