Hamilton cancer support program needs community’s help more than ever


Published November 12, 2021 at 5:13 pm

Since March 2020, pretty much every aspect of our society has been impacted by a global pandemic, none more so than our health-care system and patient care.

Hamilton’s Cancer Assistance Program (CAP), a local grassroots non-profit organization that provides free support for cancer patients and their families in and around the city, has stepped up during the course of the pandemic to ensure that the care and support they provide to their clients remained constant and relevant.

Now it’s the community’s turn to step up.

CAP is hosting its annual Gala, which due to COVID-19 remains virtual this year, on Thursday (Nov. 18) and organizers of the event say the need for support this year is greater than ever.

“At the start of the pandemic, we huddled together [with our volunteers] to figure out ways to keep supporting our clients,” CAP’s manager of fund development, Ashlee Leggett, told IntheHammer in a recent interview.

“We’re so proud of the fact that we were able to keep all of our services going and keep in contact with them through such a hard time.”

The pandemic pivot

Out of the pandemic, CAP’s Drive to Deliver program was developed where volunteers dropped personal care and nutritional products and groceries on the doorsteps of their clients.

Medical equipment supply for home care continued through CAP and, actually, demand grew to levels not seen before as hospitals tried to clear out beds as soon as possible.

“Without the pandemic, we wouldn’t have thought of doing things the way we now are and in many ways, it’s better,” Leggett said.

She notes, though, that this pivot in services has come at a cost and while one-time grants have gone a long way to support some of their pandemic-era service deliveries, if they want to keep supporting cancer patients in this manner, they need the funds.

Pressure is on

“Pressure is now on us to make up the gap because, without the funds, we won’t be able to keep this up,” she said.

To that end, the CAP team has organized an evening of entertainment, capped off with a silent auction (which goes live on Sunday, Nov. 14) which can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home.

Hamilton’s own Terra Lightfoot will be performing several songs for the event and audiences will be hearing from some of CAP’s clients and their staff and volunteers.

“We really kicked the entertainment aspect into high gear this year because that’s what we found people really wanted when we did this last year,” Leggett said.

So far, with the Gala just days away, there is some concern that CAP will not meet its fundraising goal and though Leggett said that’s not unusual, it is still nerve-racking.

‘Never been more important’

“The community is coming together for this in some incredible ways even though this is a really hard time for everyone,” she said. “But it’s never been more important; so many people rely on this.”

Donations this year will also be matched by a yet-to-be-disclosed donor.

“That will be announced the night of the Gala but it’s important to know that little gifts are not so little and can make a big difference to our bottom line,” Leggett said.

The event is free for anyone to watch and Leggett said at the very least, it’s CAP’s hope to just get the word out about their services so that those who need them most know they’re available.

“Awareness itself is huge,” she said. “Seemingly little things like this add up and make such a difference in peoples’ lives.”

The CAP Gala is this Thursday, Nov. 18 from 7 to 8 p.m. To learn more about how to access the virtual event visit the CAP website.

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