Thursday, August 16, 2012

Free and Cheap Stuff for My Peeps

Cancer almost inevitably results in having less moola to get by on. You're working less or not at all, you have hella medications to buy (some costing as much as $3000 a dose), you're constantly shuttling yourself back and forth from the hospital paying for transit or parking.

In the absence of a Cancer Discount Card (which I would totally love to set up if there is anyone out there who wants to work on that with me) it helps to grab whatever free or almost free stuff you can. Aside from the well publicized ride services and free wigs (via the Canadian Cancer Society) there are a number of other freebies available to us, some logical, some kind of random.

Cottage Dreams provides one week at a cottage in Ontario to anyone who is currently not in active treatment. I imagine that taking Tamoxifen or getting your year of Herceptin infusions doesn't count, but I guess it's worth asking. If you are in treatment you can apply now for when you have finished treatment. There is a $100 registration fee and a $175 refundable deposit.

It gets cold without any body hair. Victoria's Quilts will send a free quilt to anyone in cancer treatment in Canada. There is a US version of Victoria's Quilts as well.

I normally don't like scarves, but France Luxe has some nice ones. Through their Good Wishes program, France Luxe sends free scarves to anyone in cancer treatment, US shipping included. Canadians are asked to pay the postage.

Cleaning for a Reason coordinates free house cleaning for breast cancer patients through participating house cleaning services across North America. There doesn't seem to be very much availability though - I've been trying all year with no success.

Who doesn't need free soap? Bethesda Skincare has what they call "the melanie policy" - they will send a free bar of soap to anyone with cancer, all you have to do is email them.

My biggest hobby is traveling, so you'll forgive me if most of the freebies I've found are travel related...

Athletes 4 Cancer runs one week water based active programs in Maui for the 18-40 set. The programs are mostly free (one has a fundraising component) except for travel to and from the program site.

YACC has started a new series of active retreats for people between the ages of 18 and 39 who are 1 to 5 years out of cancer treatment. Their inaugural retreat is happening right now in Gros Morne. The retreat is free except for travel costs to and from the program site.

YACC also has not so active retreats for the 18-39 set. Once again these are free except for travel costs to and from the retreat.

First Descents is based in the US and offers active retreats for cancer peeps between 18 and 39. Rumour has it they've started a program for the 40+ set as well. The activities range from rock climbing to white water rafting to (my favourite) surfing. The retreats are (sing along kids) free except for travel costs, although they might be able to help with that too.

Women Beyond Cancer isn't just limited to the premenopausals, but it is limited to the double-X variety of human -- specifically those who have or have had cancer. Their retreats involve kayaking, horseback riding, yoga, and/or just lounging and being fed in various parts of the US and Costa Rica. Most retreats are free except for travel costs.

Just Ask
Many places offer senior and student discounts. It's worth it to ask if they will extend those discounts to people with cancer; they often will.

Find more freebies for Americans in But Doctor, I Hate Pink's List of Free Stuff.

Update (Feb. 23, 2013): A Nerds World provides free family portrait services for families dealing with cancer.

Update (Oct. 6, 2013): Ovations for the Cure will send a nice bracelet to women with Ovarian Cancer.

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