This post was sponsored by The National Children's Cancer Society (NCCS) and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Did you know that more than 40 children are diagnosed with cancer each day? Having a child diagnosed with cancer is devastating to a family! As the family rallies around the child and worries about their health and future, the last thing they want to worry about is finances.
However, 1 in 4 families lost over 40% of their annual income due to treatment related work disruptions. What’s more, the average cost of treating childhood cancer is $833,000, so battling childhood cancer can set a family's financial status into a tailspin!
When you're completely focused on helping your child survive their illness, you have little to no energy left for budgeting and finances. But, there are ways to get through your child's diagnosis without losing everything financially. Here are some tips:
Review Your Insurance Benefits
If you typically only use your health insurance benefits for preventative care and the occasional small illness or injury, you may not know exactly what is covered with a major illness. Call your insurance company to discuss what exactly is covered for hospital visits and treatments, and find out what you'll be responsible for paying.
Use Your FSA or HSA
If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or a Health Savings Account (HSA), be sure to use it for any expenses so you are paying with pre-tax money. Every little bit saved helps especially when an unexpected diagnosis occurs for those non-medical expenses associated with having a sick child but insurance does not cover.
Be willing to accept any help that is offered – whether it be meals or babysitting for the rest of your family, the offer of a fundraising account to help with expenses, or help from nonprofit organizations dedicated to supporting families who are battling childhood cancer.
One nonprofit organization that helps families is The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS). Since 1987, the NCCS has provided nearly $66 million in financial assistance to more than 43,000 children to help families stay strong, stay positive and stay together.
The NCCS offers several programs to assist families who are facing childhood cancer, including:
The NCCS’ Transportation Assistance Fund assists with travel and lodging for families who have a child with cancer. This includes transportation expenses such as mileage, airfare and lodging when a child needs to stay near the hospital for treatment and nonprofit lodging is not available.
The NCCS’ Emergency Assistance Fund provides $300 in emergency assistance per year to families who have a child that has been inpatient or away from home for (15) consecutive days within the past three months. Assistance may be used for mortgage, rent, utility payments, childcare, health insurance premiums, car expenses or treatment-related expenses such as meals away from home, prescriptions, and parking.
The NCCS’ Beyond the Cure survivorship program educates survivors and their families on life after cancer, especially regarding the “late effects” of treatment which can stem more from the treatment than the cancer itself. And since it may be difficult to think about saving for future college expenses while undergoing cancer treatments, the NCCS’ Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship Program awards college scholarships to childhood cancer survivors who have demonstrated the ability to overcome the difficult challenges of cancer with determination and motivation. Fifty-eight college scholarships are awarded each year.
Share Your Journey with Family and Friends
As your family goes through the ups and downs of fighting childhood cancer, your friends and family will want to come alongside you and support you. Find a free website like CaringBridge (or a Facebook page) to share your cancer journey so that friends and family know how they can help you.
Donate, If You’re Able
Even if your family has never been touched by childhood cancer, consider donating to the NCCS to help them fund these programs for families who are. You can donate today by visiting theNCCS.org.
The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a not-for-profit organization providing support to families making their way through the daunting world of childhood cancer and survivorship. With over 30 years of experience serving more than 43,000 children, the NCCS is able to take a “no matter what” approach to help families stay strong, stay positive and stay together. The NCCS has been recognized as a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity and earned a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency. For more information call 314-241-1600, visit theNCCS.org, or on Facebook and Twitter.