FILLING THE GAP IN CANCER SUPPORT FOR ADULTS
Written on the 14 April 2016
LOCAL businesses have thrown their support behind a new not-for-profit launched on the Gold Coast, aimed at helping people battling cancer over the age of 25.
The Better Together Foundation creates special moments for cancer warriors and their families to escape the disease, like a Make a Wish Foundation for adults.
Matthew McFarland came up with the concept after his wife Jessica died from bowel cancer last year aged 28.
He joined forces with Camp Quality volunteer Katie Bain, who has been diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer, to establish the foundation.
Both recognised a gap in the market between support services offered to younger cancer patients compared to those aged over 25. The support for children tends to be more practical or emotional, whereas it's mainly information-based for adults.
McFarland says planning their wedding gave Jessica reprieve from treatment and hopes recreating that experience can make the hard times worth it.
"Being able to get away from the stress of treatment, and the hospital visits and the constant reminder of the disease, just for a short while, meant we could really connect with each other," McFarland says.
"I'm grateful I have those memories with Jess and a big part of starting the foundation is about making sure other people get to make memories with their loved ones too.
"We're not here to take over other foundations, we're here to provide our own unique and personal support.
"This can be anything from cleaning the house, organising the pickup from school - all the small things we take for granted when we're healthy."
As well as providing special moments, the Better Together Foundation will work with existing charities to ensure that cancer warriors know what services are available and how to access them.
Bain says it's important to expand the support offered to newly diagnosed adults without discounting the hard work of existing charities.
"When you're first diagnosed you are hit with a whole heap of information, some of it is even conflicting, and it is so hard to think clearly, you are simply overloaded," Bain says.
"We want to be the bridge that connects someone who is in that terrifying moment post-diagnosis and all the support that is out there waiting for them."
The Better Together Foundation is looking to establish partnerships with hospitals and health organisations across Brisbane and the Gold Coast to reach patients in need of support.