Lane Cove Local Emma Phillips Making a Difference for Rural Cancer Patients

Last year, Lane Cove local Linda Botter organised the Liverity Spring Fashion Gala. The Fashion Show was designed to celebrate life through community engagement.  The inaugural event empowered local cancer patients to model the latest spring fashions through the kind generosity and community spirit of Lane Cove.

A team of Lane Cove locals donated their time to help Linda to stage a very successful event.  All money raised from the event was donated to Can Assist.

ITC had never heard of Can Assist.  So we wanted to find out more.

What is Can Assist?

Can Assist is committed to ensuring that all people, regardless of where they live in rural NSW, have access to cancer treatment and care. They provide financial assistance and practical support to people from rural and regional areas, to ensure that country people are given the same opportunities and treatment choices as those who live in city centres.  Can Assist was formed in 1955.

What is the Lane Cove Connection?

Emma Phillips is the Executive Director of Can Assist; she is also a Lane Cove local.

A few years ago, Emma was going through her own cancer battle. On her way home from a medical appointment, she heard on the radio a story about a cancer patient who was living in a rural area and how she had waited over ten months for an operation.  Emma knew she was lucky to be living in the city and have access to quick medical treatment.

Emma has had a long career in Global Banking working in both Sydney and New York for Citibank, ABN AMRO and Royal Bank of Scotland. Emma also has a strong affinity with the land and rural centres with her family previously owning properties in both Bathurst and Cowra.

In 2016 she was approached to sit on the Can Assist board of directors (the board are all volunteers). In 2018 their CEO left, and Emma was asked to be a caretaker CEO.  She knew she had found her calling.  She could see the difference Can Assist was making to the lives of rural and regional cancer patients.

Where does Can Assist Operate?

There are 56 Can Assist branches throughout NSW.  The latest branch to open is the Merriwa branch in the Hunter Valley.  Our sister city, Gunnedah, has a Can Assist branch.

What does a Can Assist Branch Do?

Can Assist branches are:

  • All located in rural and regional areas;
  • All run by volunteers;
  • All money raised via fundraising activities stays in the town where the branch is located (if they raise $1,000 at a trivia night, 100% of that money stays in that town to help locals);
  • Can Assist supports all cancer patients;
  • Their financial support is not means-tested (which also helps self-funded retirees who are struggling with low interest rates).

COVID-19 Impact

Cancer doesn’t stop for COVID-19, but COVID-19 increases the burden on patients who have cancer.

COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of all Can Assist branch fundraising events across NSW – from Gala Balls to meat raffles. The drought, bushfires and now COVID-19 place unprecedented pressure on Can Assist’s income.

You can make a tax-deductible donation today so Can Assist can continue to help people in rural NSW who have cancer. If you have a particular affinity with a rural or regional area, you can nominate a branch for your donation and know that every dollar you give will go directly to that branch helping those in need.

Your donation will mean that Can Assist will never have to say ‘No’.

Your donation ensures that Can Assist provides assistance such as:

$35 petrol

$55 meals

$100 accommodation

$250 rent or mortgage payments

$500 utilities

Can Assist understands that country families from rural and regional areas struggle to cope with a reduced income as a result of a cancer diagnosis. At the same time, they face increased expenses from travel, accommodation and medical costs.
They aim to ensure that no one misses out and falls into financial hardship by getting treatment.

Donate here  (all donations over $2.00 are tax-deductible).

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