The start of 2022 has been such a turbulent time for so many people with the devastating effect that the Omicron variant had on everyone in Hong Kong. With the focus on health and wellbeing it is easy to forget that families and loved ones were also having to face a cancer diagnosis, often scared to leave their home as they tried to avoid catching COVID whilst on the bus or MTR.
But hospital appointments, meeting with their Doctors and Oncologists still had to continue. During this wave of COVID we moved all of our free professional services to on-line and telephone and the number of calls and concerns we received were in their thousands.
However, we need your help to continue to provide these much needed services to ensure no one faces cancer alone. The last 3 years have been extremely difficult for us to raise funds with all of our in person activities being postponed or moved to a virtual platform. Please can you help us raise HK$3 million to cover our shortfall?
A cancer journey can span many years and will touch every family member. Sam has been diagnosed with cancer twice. The first time was in 2018 with a small cell lung cancer.
People undergoing cancer treatment experience a number of worries and concerns, not just about treatment or the future, financial issues, family difficulties, body image and a host of other worries. People are feeling out of control and there is very little they feel they can do to help themselves.
Sam and his wife Anne, first heard about the Cancer Fund when he was originally diagnosed and attending the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. When Sam first came to the Cancer Fund, he was feeling anxious and didn’t know who he could talk to about his diagnosis.
Wan Ke our Centre Manager at Wong Tai Sin met with Sam and helped him work through his anxiety “Sam had just been diagnosed and was shouldering all the concerns that he had himself, he didn’t want to put any added pressure or worries onto his wife Anne or their son and their parents” Wan Ke said.
Help us continue to offer free and timely services to allow us to reach thousands of people in need of free cancer care. We would be grateful for your kind support to ensure no one faces cancer alone. It is your generosity that brings warmth to the hearts of those touched by cancer in Hong Kong.
Sam had met Anne when he was a cook in a restaurant in 1997 and they married soon after and moved to a public housing estate in Choi Hung. Their son was born in 2004, and with Anne working part time in a primary school they felt complete and happy.
“My son was 14 years old when I was first diagnosed and both Anne and I felt such a relief when Wan Ke helped us explain my diagnosis to him. He’s a bright boy and we are both so proud of him but of course the news for the whole family was devastating”. Sam told us.
Sam had been a regular smoker since his late teenage years. “As I worked in the restaurant I would regularly take a cigarette break outside the back door of the kitchen, but as soon as I heard the diagnosis I quit smoking, it was actually easier than I thought it would be. I never had another cigarette since and I don’t even want one. My family are the world to me and I want to be there to see my son graduate from University”. Sam said.
Sam’s treatment started immediately with six rounds of chemotherapy and he initially responded very well. Sam told us: “I was prepared for the side effects of the treatment as Wan Ke had gone through these with myself and Anne. He had also helped by arranging for us to speak to Fion the Dietician so that we could make sure that I ate the right foods to keep my strength up”
But early last year the cancer had returned and metastasized to the brain. Sam’s appetite decreased and he lost his sense of taste, his weight plummeted quickly from 60kgs to 51kgs. His Doctor suggested that another course of chemotherapy be started immediately followed by immunotherapy. Sam and Anne were devastated but determined to keep positive.
However, the diagnosis of the cancer and the treatment had a huge impact of all of the family. Sam had lost all of his strength and his hands were constantly shaking. He soon was unable to work at his job and needed Anne to look after him. His physical condition meant that he needed a wheelchair and travel to the hospital was expensive. His last salary at the restaurant was HK$27,000 per month but with the immunotherapy costing around HK$18,000 every 3 weeks, they soon found themselves using up what little savings they had accumulated over the years.
They applied for CSSA and it was approved in September 2021 giving them an extra HK$12,000 per month, however they had accumulated personal loans of nearly HK$60,000.
“I was so shocked that neither Sam nor Anne told me that they were in such a difficult financial situation”, Wan Ke said, “As soon as I found out I immediately put in a Relief Fund Application for them. Due to the COVID situation it took a little longer than we normally would do and we had to do the home visit through a WhatsApp video call. As soon as I had the report together I passed it through our internal system and it was signed off by our CEO and we have been able to give Sam HK$12,000 per month to help them during this very difficult time.”
Will you help us reach our target of HK$3 million by giving a gift of HK$500 or more? Please send a generous gift so that many more people like Sam and his family can receive our free professional cancer services. Providing care is at the heart of our work and we are committed to serving those in need.
HK$500 – One month’s supply of vital nutrition powder needed for a patient under treatment.
HK$1,000 – Provide a patient’s transportation if required and basic medical charges in a public hospital for one month.
HK$1,500 – Will go towards supporting a family with food coupons from our Hardship Fund.
The Cancer Fund provides so many much needed free professional support. We do not actively promote our relief and hardship funds, however, the need is often there and we must help whenever we can. We do conduct very extensive background checks to ensure that the help is given to those that need it the most. Being diagnosed with cancer and the stresses it brings are difficult for everyone, but not being able to pay for your own bills or food on top of this needs to be avoided.
Sam is responding well to treatment and would like to add: “I cannot thank the Cancer Fund enough. The support throughout this long journey has been amazing and I am truly grateful. I look forward to getting back on my feet and getting back to work but in the meantime I will do as the Doctors have told me and take the rest and nutrition that my body needs during this time.”
Please can you help people like Sam and Anne. We urgently need to raise HK3 million and every dollar help.
Thank you so much for helping us ensure that no one faces cancer alone.
Tel: (852) 3656 0800
General donation:(852) 3667 6333
COF Monthly donation:(852) 3667 6332