Riverina Can Assist receives crucial funding from

Media release: 19 October 2021 Riverina cancer patients who rely on their cars to travel to and from treatment will benefit from new, vital funds. has donated to cancer assistance branches, Can Assist Narrandera and Can Assist Leeton in the Riverina.

Local cancer patients benefit

It makes a huge difference when grassroots fundraising has been stymied by the pandemic.

The two Can Assist branches provide practical and financial support to cancer patients in their immediate communities (and surrounding townships where there isn’t a branch). They help with travel, food and fuel vouchers, pharmaceuticals, equipment (eg, wheelchairs, lift chairs, walking frames), oxygen, utilities payments and car insurances like CTP green slips.

For both branches, the support provided by is invaluable, particularly because having a car is vital in the Riverina region. Local cancer patients travel long distances – to Wagga, Griffith, Albury and sometimes Sydney – for treatment.

“Having the choice and flexibility of your own car is so important,” says Narrandera President, Neta Close, a former Registered Nurse. “It gives a greater sense of independence. And public transport is often not an option. It’s amazing the impact the funds can have on a cancer patient and their families. It takes a huge stress off them.”

It’s a view echoed by Mary Dodd, Leeton Branch President:

“A car is essential; some travel 3.5 hours a day for treatment – and that can go on every day for six weeks,” she adds. supports 30th branch

Can Assist Leeton, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2022, is the 30th branch around NSW to have received the critical support from It currently has 377 clients on its books, some of whom are in remission, and the team helps between 100 and 150 people a year.

“It’s amazing how much we help people; some could not afford their treatment if it wasn’t for Can Assist,” says Mary.

The Narrandera branch celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and helps more than 90 people each year. They’re keen to create more awareness of the support they can offer and thus reach more recipients.

“We provide practical and emotional support,” says Neta. “People are so grateful the service is available and that it’s not means tested. You can live in a tent or a mansion, we don’t say no to anybody with cancer.”

Nora Logemann, an OT with NSW Health who works at both Narrandera Hospital and Leeton Hospital and has used both Can Assist branches for her patients, sums it up perfectly:

“If Can Assist was not there, a lot of people would struggle to get what they need to support their cancer journey. There are a lot of costs. A lot of our clients have trouble travelling to treatment. It all adds up.”

Supporting Riverina locals

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

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing that is doing, because our fundraising has been severely curtailed this year,” says Mary. “To put it in perspective, each month our pharmaceutical bills are $1,000 a month, while fuel can be $1,200 a month. Our support takes a huge burden off local cancer patients, especially if they don’t have the funds to deal with their commitments.

“In 2019, we raised $98,000 – all local money, none from grants – and 99.4% was spent on local cancer patients, with just 0.6% spent on local administration, because we’re all volunteers. We live in a very generous town; local organisations make us their cause. The community spirit is great.”

Adds Neta: “Fundraising has been on hold due to COVID but the amount spent on patient care in 2020 was over $90,000. Patient care includes pharmacy, travel, accommodation, equipment, food supplements and oxygen therapy. We have some amazing locals who support us, and many businesses, organisations, schools and individual are wonderful donors. And our Can Assist donation cans all over the town help our ongoing fundraising. However, a lot of the normal things we do to raise funds are just not happening.”

Looking for volunteers

The Riverina Can Assist branches, which are run entirely by local volunteers, know there are many more cancer patients in the community who need help. They’re keen to support them, especially with the funds from to help pay for patients’ green slip insurance. But that’s not all, they’re also keen to see more volunteers join their branches.

“We’re always looking for volunteers,” says Mary.

For information about accessing assistance, donating or volunteering with Can Assist Leeton, contact 0456 657 675 and Can Assist Narrandera, call 0456 056 109. 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 29 branches across NSW and commits to providing further support.

For further information:
Lisa Llewellyn
0419 401 362

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