Can Assist Tamworth begins crucial partnership with

Media release
12 July 2021

Cancer patients residing within the Hunter New England Health Region and who rely on their cars to travel to and from treatment will benefit from new funding that Can Assist Tamworth has received from

The partnership between and Can Assist, a community-based volunteer network that provides financial and practical support to people affected by cancer and living in country NSW, was forged in 2019, with funding provided to help pay for cancer patients’ green slip insurance. To date, has supported 28 Can Assist branches across NSW and is committed to supporting more.

How Can Assist Tamworth helps

Can Assist Tamworth provides support confidentially to cancer patients by paying for some of life’s essentials, such as car expenses, travel, accommodation, medication, household goods, and utility payments – among other expenses. And paying for CTP green slips is a common request.

Robyn Fitzgerald, Community Liaison Officer, says the funds from are an enormous help, because Can Assist often pays for patients’ green slips and car registration. “Without a car, they cannot get to treatment,” she says.

Adds Pam Whitney, Secretary of Can Assist Tamworth: “The injection of funds is timely, as last year all fundraising activities stopped because of the pandemic. For those undergoing treatment, things often happen at short notice, and expenses like CTP green slip insurance and car rego can surprise people.”

Pam, a cancer survivor herself, says that having a car is “absolutely vital, as public transport is limited”.

“You can’t live here without a car. If you live on the outskirts of town, there’s no way of getting around,” she says. “And it’s tough for those who live in towns like Manilla, Barraba or Bingara, which are 40km, 100km and 150km out of town respectively. We support people from those towns in particular, as they may have to travel to Tamworth on a daily basis.”

On average, Can Assist Tamworth supports more than 50 local cancer patients of different ages and who are at different stages of their cancer journey. In 2020 they helped 32 new cases, with the reduction in requests being attributed to COVID-19 concerns.

Crucial safety net

Oncology Social Worker Doug Weekes from the North West Cancer Centre at Tamworth Hospital, who has worked with Can Assist for over two years, calls Can Assist “our safety net for people who don’t have enough financial stability to go through cancer, of which there are many”.

Doug provides direction on where the Can Assist funds go. “It’s for patients who are struggling financially, or need support getting back on their feet, or who need money for things like groceries, pharmacy bills or green slips. Can Assist even paid for a hot water system for someone who was dying of cancer and wanted to stay in their own home.

“Over-the-counter pharmacy bills not covered by a Centrelink healthcare card can add up significantly. We see people who might struggle between choosing to put food on the table or travelling to see family – and for some, it might be the last time they can see family.”

Can Assist Tamworth is funded entirely by local donations, local fundraising events, and corporate support such as All money raised locally stays local to help local cancer patients. “I just wish more people knew about us, especially cancer patients who need us the most,” says Robyn. “We don’t discriminate and we help with every type of cancer and with whatever they need.”

And while the branch has restarted fundraising activities, it has a desperate need for donations and volunteers. “We need new members and particularly young members,” adds Pam.

For more information on how to support Can Assist, visit or call Can Assist Tamworth directly on 0459 424 448.

About Can Assist

Can Assist aims to ensure that all people, regardless of where they live in NSW, have access to cancer treatment and care. By providing accommodation, financial assistance and practical support to people from rural and regional areas, it ensures country people are given the same opportunities and treatment choices as those who live in city centres.

Can Assist facts

  • Established in 1955, Can Assist provides practical and financial support to people affected by cancer and living in country NSW. It is funded entirely by local donations and corporate sponsorships.
  • In 2019, Can Assist responded to over 7,700 requests for assistance from rural and regional cancer patients through 55 branches across NSW.
  • Can Assist is a grass roots, community-based volunteer network. It is local volunteers supporting local families affected by cancer.
  • All the money raised locally stays local.
  •, a price comparison and information service for CTP green slip insurance, is a partner of Can Assist. It does not sell CTP green slip insurance.
  • Since 2019, has supported Can Assist head office and 26 branches across NSW and commits to providing further support.

For further information:
Lisa Llewellyn
0419 401 362