Meet Frank - CanCare Patient

When family can’t be there, CanCare can

Life has changed so much for Frank and his daughter Erica in the past year. An ever active 'over-80' year old, Frank lives in Sydney, over 900km away from Erica and her family in Brisbane. For the past few years, Erica has been visiting her dad every few weeks during his treatment for colorectal cancer to attend appointments and spend time together.

During the COVID lockdown, restrictions on travel meant it was too dangerous for Erica to visit Frank. During this time, Erica relied on the kindness and support of CanCare volunteers to help keep her dad safe and well.

“I haven’t seen Dad since early March. The whole family went into self-isolation so we could visit him at Easter but of course we have had to stay away. I said to him, ‘Dad, I don’t want to be the person who causes your death.’ Now we can’t even cross the border.” says Erica.

A lifeline for families undergoing cancer treatment

While the family stayed in touch over the phone, Frank’s CanCare volunteers John and Tony have stepped in to see that Frank could get to his appointments and provide some much needed social contact, inside the safety guidelines.

Erica says the volunteers have provided a lifeline of support to the family since a hospital social worker referred them last year.

“CanCare built rapport with Dad from the first meeting so that he felt confident, comfortable and respected. They have done an amazing job to match him with volunteers who share his interests in politics, news and world affairs.”

Frank speaks several languages and reads the news daily in English, Russian, Croatian and Italian. While he misses catching up with his friends, Erica says Tony and John are always thinking up new ideas for things to do with Frank.

“Before the COVID-19 restrictions, they would often take Dad for lunch to his favourite café. Now they pick up take away from there instead. It’s a small thing but it keeps the connection going.”

Erica said that the hardest part was not knowing when she would next see her dad, but CanCare volunteers were there to help the family get through what was a a most difficult and anxious time.

“While I couldn't physically get there to shop for him or take him to appointments, to get a call or a text from John or Tony after they’d been with Dad made a huge difference to me,” says Erica.

And that’s a really big deal.

“I trust the CanCare volunteers to look after Dad. I can’t thank them enough.”

We can’t all volunteer, but we can help in other ways. Your gift will make a real difference to those in need.