Kindness for Kids with Cancer

Childhood Cancer Canada’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund will provide 100 Edmonton families who have a child in cancer treatment with $250.

Antonia Palmer is no stranger to the challenges of having a child with cancer. Now, she is using her position as Director on the Board of Directors of Childhood Cancer Canada to help kids with cancer and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coping with cancer is difficult in the best of circumstances, and COVID-19 has only made life much harder for cancer victims and their families. Families not only have to deal with the stress of having a child with cancer, but also have to face the financial challenges and health risks that COVID-19 has created.

“What we’re seeing is, families are having a really hard time balancing expenses,” Palmer said. “They’re having a really hard time doing simple things like paying rent and buying groceries.”

The pandemic has caused many situations in which one or both parents have lost their job, leaving little to no supplemental income.

When Palmer joined Childhood Cancer Canada’s Board of Directors, she immediately connected with social workers across Canada to understand the impact COVID-19 was having on families with children in cancer treatment.

“We learned very quickly that the families were really suffering,”  Palmer said. “It hasn’t been necessarily that they’re suffering because the child is being diagnosed with COVID or being more susceptible to it. But it’s really all the other impacts that have happened around COVID.”

A $27,500 grant from Edmonton Community Foundation was used to help families by funding the second phase of Childhood Cancer Canada’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund. Childhood Cancer Canada aims to support children and young adults through programming such as the COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

“Governments developed aid programs for people who lost income, but Childhood Cancer Canada’s Emergency Fund gives a small additional top up to families with the additional challenge of a child in active cancer treatment,” Craig Stumpf-Allen, ECF’s Director of Grants and Community Engagement, says.  “Sometimes, it isn’t the money that is the most important thing, but the bit of assistance demonstrates that there is a community that is looking out for you.

The COVID-19 Emergency Fund gives $250 to families who have a child or young adult in active cancer treatment. One hundred families in Edmonton will receive the emergency fund.

The Government of Canada’s $350-million Emergency Community Support Fund aims to help charities and non-profit organizations adapt and increase frontline services for vulnerable populations during COVID-19.

Together, the Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada and United Way Centraide Canada are collaborating with the Government of Canada to flow ECSF support to those who need it most right now.

“The most important thing we can say is ‘thank you’ because we would not have been able to do this to this extent without the support of the Edmonton Community Foundation,” Palmer said.

Thankfully, Palmer’s son is a cancer survivor, but she knows first-hand the challenges families face during treatment. She hopes the funding will give families something to look forward to during the pandemic.

“I know what these families are experiencing,” Palmer said. “And these small acts of kindness are what patients and families remember.”

Learn more about the Emergency Community Support Fund.

The Emergency Community Support Fund
Funded by