Katrin’s Karepackage (KK) is a charitable program created in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society to offset the travel costs of cancer patients travelling for cancer-related appointments. Katrin’s Karepackage has provided aid to Newfoundland and Nova Scotian residents struggling to access cancer treatment and appointments.
Newfoundland: In Newfoundland, the only place to get radiation cancer treatment is in St. John’s. However, in order to receive funding from the Newfoundland government, patients must pay for the first 1,500km of travel in a 12-month period. Once eligible, the province reimburses a fraction of travel costs (20 cents per kilometre). As such, treatment is inaccessible for many low-income patients and patients living in rural communities outside of St. John’s.
Nova Scotia: In Nova Scotia, many cancer patients from across the province must regularly travel into Halifax for cancer-related appointments. Currently, in order to obtain funding from the MSI BTO Program, Nova Scotians must make a gross family income of less than $25,500.00. This is close to the poverty line for a family of two. Similar to Newfoundland, this makes treatment inaccessible for individuals living outside of Halifax.
Inspired by Maike van Niekerk’s mother, who died of breast cancer, Maike wanted to change this inaccessibility by starting a tax-deductible charitable program to help pay for the travel costs of cancer patients in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. The goal of this program is to not only raise donations for transportation costs, but also improve awareness of the issue. In 2014, Maike kick-started Katrin’s Karepackage by biking across the island (1,100 km over 10 days) and in 2015 ran 7 consecutive marathons in 7 days across the province. Both initiatives symbolized cancer patients’ long journey to access treatment, raising nearly $60,000.00. Thanks to the fundraising efforts of hundreds of individuals, over $110,000.00 has been raised for Katrin’s Karepackage since 2014.
Eligibility: To apply for funding from Katrin’s Karepackage, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Must live a minimum of 50 km outside of St. John’s (Newfoundland applicants) or 50 km outside of Halifax (Nova Scotian applicants)
- Be undergoing active cancer treatment which includes radiation therapy, chemotherapy, specialist appointments related to cancer (destroy, dermatology), surgery related to cancer, follow-up appointments with oncologists and diagnostic appointments.
- Cannot be receiving MSI BTO program funding for applicants in Nova Scotia
Obtaining funding: In Nova Scotia, applicants will receive a $10.00 gas card for every 100km worth of travel. Individuals can obtain these gas cards by visiting The Canadian Cancer Society’s Lodge that Gives in Halifax. We regret to inform that all of the Newfoundland funding ($55,000.00) has been used. We will be organizing fundraising initiatives for Newfoundland residents in the near future.