Can Assist Cootamundra gets funding

Media release, 5 December 2021 Cancer support network Can Assist has been given a timely financial boost with vital funding from It will benefit cancer patients across the shire who rely on their cars to travel to and from treatment.

Can Assist Cootamundra provides practical and financial support to cancer patients across the shire by paying for medical expenses and now, thanks to the donation, CTP greenslips for some clients. Currently, the branch has 300 clients on their books and between 25 to 35 people are assisted each month. “If it wasn’t for Can Assist, there are people who could not afford their treatment,” says Colleen Flynn, Branch Treasurer.

Branch President Beverly Withers, a retired nurse who knows firsthand the financial and emotional impacts of cancer, says the funds from “will make a huge difference”.

“We have found that many people are very humble and self-conscious about asking for help. If they know we are getting assistance from they will be more willing to ask for assistance from Can Assist,” she says. “And if we can take the stress of financial challenges away, then they can concentrate on their treatment and recovery.”

Always travel involved

Colleen, a cancer survivor herself, says such tangible support is vital, particularly because “there’s always travel involved”.

“We’re 100km away from radiation treatment and often people have to go every day for six weeks – that’s a 200km return trip each day,” she says. “In addition, we have some clients with really serious cancer diagnoses who have to travel to Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra for treatment. It will be wonderful to give clients’ money towards their car costs. To be able to pay for their greenslip takes a load off their mind, and we already have several people we can help immediately with these funds.”

Last financial year, Can Assist Cootamundra spent $80,000 assisting local cancer patients, with the community donating almost $40,000.

“That’s what our fundraising does,” says Colleen. “We are busy filling the gap but we always make sure we have a contingency so we never have to say no to a client who needs assistance. Serious sickness is scary in the country and financial assistance from Can Assist can mean the difference between eating that week or not.”

Supporting locals

What sets Can Assist apart from other charities is that all money raised locally stays local. The branches are funded entirely by local donations and fundraising events, and corporate support such as

“We run a local barbecue trailer every two weeks and do a lot of cooking and catering,” says Colleen. “But we need younger people with new ideas for fundraising. The town supports us – they’re amazing – but we’re having trouble reaching everyone. We’re always looking for new ideas on how to reach our communities.”

More awareness (and volunteers) needed

The Can Assist Cootamundra branch, which is run entirely by local volunteers, suspects there are more cancer patients in the community who need help – and they’re keen to support them.

“We are sure there are people who need our assistance but haven’t asked us,” says Colleen. “We can’t approach a patient, they need to approach us,” she says. “So, it’s important to get the word out there about Can Assist and how we can help.”

But that’s not all, they’re also keen to see more volunteers join the branch. “We’re always looking for volunteers, particularly younger ones. At 67 I’m one of the youngest, while some of our original volunteers are in their 80s,” says Colleen.

Adds Beverley: “We need extra help. We need people to step up. We’ve been going for 38 years and the community needs us and we need the community.”

For information about donating or volunteering with Can Assist Cootamundra, call 0413 937 943. For further information about how to support Can Assist, visit

About Can Assist

Can Assist aims to ensure that all people, regardless of where they live in NSW, have access to cancer treatment and care. By providing accommodation, financial assistance and practical support to people from rural and regional areas, it ensures country people are given the same opportunities and treatment choices as those who live in city centres.

Can Assist facts

  • Established in 1955, Can Assist provides practical and financial support to people affected by cancer and living in country NSW. It is funded entirely by local donations and corporate sponsorships.
  • In 2019, Can Assist responded to over 7,700 requests for assistance from rural and regional cancer patients through 55 branches across NSW.
  • Can Assist is a grass roots, community-based volunteer network. It is local volunteers supporting local families affected by cancer.
  • All the money raised locally stays local.
  •, a price comparison and information service for CTP green slip insurance, is a partner of Can Assist. It does not sell CTP green slip insurance.
  • Since 2019, has supported Can Assist head office and over 30 branches across NSW and commits to providing further support.

For further information:
Lisa Llewellyn
0419 401 362

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