Cancer patients are encouraged to ask for help because it helps others

Media release, 4 Nov 2019: Many of us are too proud or shy to ask for help, especially when we’re navigating the challenges of a cancer diagnosis. But thanks to one brave local and his call for help, cancer patients all over country NSW are now getting valuable assistance from through Can Assist.

“I’m very stubborn and wouldn’t ask for help, but it was such a relief when Robert spoke to his oncology social worker about our struggle to pay some bills,” said Gail Griffiths, wife of cancer patient Robert Griffiths.

Robert was diagnosed with bowel cancer 21 years ago. Initial treatment was successful and Robert has lived a healthy and active life until earlier this year when he was diagnosed with metastasis cancer. The impact on his family has been profound.

“We are back and forth weekly for treatment, it gets very expensive. Bob could see I wasn’t coping with the financial stress and he asked for help. When Can Assist called to say had paid our CTP insurance we both burst into tears. To think that someone could do that was amazing. I don’t think we could have survived without Can Assist. It’s like having a friend you have not met,” said Gail Griffiths.

PsychOncology social worker Anna Cobb, from Western NSW Health, is based at Orange Health Service. She explained, “Cancer is pervasive, affecting all areas of life for the patient and their family. Asking for help is important at a practical and emotional level. When you’re in a low emotional state, one small act of kindness can be disproportionately powerful. One bill paid can make all the difference. Can Assist is an amazing resource that people can lean on for assistance.”

Every cancer patient has a different experience, however the need for support after diagnosis is a common thread in everyone’s story. Can Assist is a community-based volunteer network that provides financial and practical support to people affected by cancer and living in country NSW. Can Assist announced its partnership with in June, and since then seven Orange locals have been grateful recipients of the financial support to pay their CTP insurance.

“I was diagnosed 18 months ago with bowel cancer and there has been a lot of toing and froing with doctors, surgeons and chemotherapy. It’s a long haul and been pretty tough. Life goes on and the bills roll in. On top of the day-to-day are essential scans that neither Medicare nor my health insurer would cover,” said Orange resident Ian Coleman.

“I didn’t realise help was available. My daughter read that was paying for green slip insurance through Can Assist so I reached out for help via my oncology social worker. Can Assist has taken some of the burden off me and my wife. To know something is paid for is a huge relief and very welcome,” said Coleman.

Funding for CTP green slips

Since Robert Griffith’s brave phone call five months ago, has contributed funding for CTP green slip insurance to branches in Orange, Finley, Dubbo, Armidale, Bega, Balranald, Narrabri and Yass with a commitment to give further support across NSW. One man asking for help is now helping a lot of other cancer patients and their families, all across NSW.

Can Assist Orange invites patients  to come forward and seek financial and practical support. It is as simple as calling 0408 971 945. All enquiries and support are strictly confidential.

For more information on how to support Can Assist, visit

Media contacts

Sophie Bartho, Mobile 0411 191 141
Interviews and photo opportunities are available with recipients Robert Griffiths and Ian Coleman, PsychOncology Social Worker Anna Cobb and Can Assist Orange Branch President.

About Can Assist

Can Assist is committed to ensuring 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

  • Can Assist provides practical and financial support to people affected by cancer and living in country NSW.
  • Established in 1955, Can Assist is funded entirely by local donations and corporate sponsorships. In 2018, it assisted 7,300 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.
  • Cancer is expensive, and people in rural and remote communities can suffer reduced income and increased expenses because of a cancer diagnosis. Their position is often exacerbated because treatment may require relocation from home and family support.
  • is a new partner of Can Assist. is a price comparison and information service for CTP green slip insurance. It does not sell CTP green slip insurance.
  • has supported Can Assist branches in Orange, Finley, Dubbo, Armidale, Bega, Balranald, Narrabri and Yass with commitments to give further support across NSW.

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