Coast to Coast Against Cancer supports a variety of charities through its fundraising events. These organizations provide support across the various aspects of childhood cancer- from family support, to camping, to research. YOU are helping make these programs possible through your support.
One of these great groups, a partner since 2011, is Ontario Parents Advocating for Children with Cancer (OPACC), whose overall goal is to be the parent voice for families with children diagnosed with cancer across the Province of Ontario. OPACC is made up of parents, guardians, survivors, or close relatives of children and teens diagnosed with childhood cancer. They provide support to families in hospital, at home, and throughout all stages of their child’s cancer journey. Childhood cancer has a devastating effect on parents, siblings, extended family, friends, and their communities. Those who survive often require ongoing psychosocial, physical, and financial support. OPACC was created by parents to respond to these issues – to let them know they are never alone!
Last year alone, over 850 families affected by childhood cancer were supported through OPACC. They currently average 140 new families per year. The programs that supported these families include:
Family Support Services
This is the program that donations to the Toronto Inside Ride National Tour stop supports! The Parent Liaison program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto offers families of children with cancer in-hospital support and a wealth of free information and resources, including information on hospital services, parent support groups, weekly drop-ins, and one-on-one support for parents. Parent Liaisons are professionals and parents who have already undertaken a childhood cancer journey and understand the impact a diagnosis has on the entire family. As OPACC grows, the goal is to continue to establish more Parent Support Groups throughout Ontario, as well as bring the Parent Liaison Program to other Pediatric Cancer Centres.
OPACC works in collaboration with others across Ontario to build a network of community-based Parent Support Groups to ensure that families are supported both in hospital as well as back in their local communities. They support the growth and development of new and existing groups, and currently have groups in areas including Barrie, Kitchener-Waterloo, Newmarket, and Hamilton.
Through work in partnership with other childhood cancer and healthcare organizations from across the Province and at the National level, they are making a difference in the lives of children affected by cancer and their families. Some of the important topics that OPACC has and continues to advocate for include: E.I. legislation for benefits to Parents of Critically Ill Children; reduced hospital parking rates; representation for childhood cancer survivors in the latest Ontario Cancer Plan; supporting the educational needs of children with cancer.
The best way to sum up the impact of your donations and OPACC’s work is through the words of a parent: “Thank you so much for being there at the hospital all these weeks and months and years. You have always been such a source of comfort and reassurance for me.” –Jeanne Z.