How one phone call kept cancer patients’ cars on the road


greenslips.com.au has just made its 58th donation to Can Assist. It has now donated to all 56 Can Assist branches, as well as to head office. In addition, the successful media outreach has resulted in greater awareness of Can Assist and its vital work across rural and remote NSW, assisting more cancer patients.

Our Can Assist story

When NSW farmer and cancer patient Robert Griffiths received a phone call in April 2019 to say someone had paid for his car’s CTP green slip insurance, he and his wife Gail burst into tears. The high cost of his cancer treatment meant he and Gail needed to sell their farm equipment and stock to pay for it, leaving nothing left over for the compulsory insurance – until a good-hearted stranger stepped in.

This small act of kindness meant Robert could keep using his car to get to treatment, it also led to hundreds of other cancer patients being supported as well.

Can-do attitude sparks a partnership

In early 2019, Helen Corby, a volunteer and treasurer of the Orange branch of NSW cancer support group Can Assist, made a call to the green slip information and comparison company greenslips.com.au. She wanted to know how to pay for Robert’s QBE green slip.

“I remember the call well,” says Stephen Treacey, founder and CEO of greenslips.com.au. “Helen explained why she was trying to pay for the green slip, and what Can Assist does. The call resonated with me: the fact that paying for someone’s green slip could have such a big impact was mind-blowing.”

Stephen, who grew up in the NSW country town of Cobar, decided to pay for Robert’s green slip and made a $3,000 donation to the Can Assist Orange branch. But that was just the beginning. He also spoke with his colleague Sophie Bartho about what more could be done to help Can Assist and the cancer patients they support.

Can Assist is a grassroots charity, established in 1955, to provide practical and financial support to cancer patients across regional, rural and remote NSW. Much of the assistance goes towards meeting travel expenses, as many clients must travel long distances to treatment. “We also help with the cost of car registration, fuel, food, utilities and rates,” says Helen. “With the ever-increasing cost of living, the need for financial help is even greater.”

Stephen says Can Assist was “a compelling fit”. “Both organisations are NSW-based. Being from the country myself, I’ve seen the compounding challenges from the need to travel to treatment. Travel often involves long distances and driving hundreds of kilometres, sometimes daily, for weeks and months. I understand how critical it is for people to keep their cars on the road to access treatment.

“I also know what it is to be the carer for a loved one with cancer. I love Can Assist’s grassroots volunteer model, where the money raised locally stays local. I love how Can Assist does not discriminate – it is there for all cancers, and all people.”

greenslips.com.au proposal delivers for Can Assist

Working with Emma Phillips, Can Assist’s CEO, the greenslips.com.au team put forward a partnership proposal, committing to helping every Can Assist branch with a $3,000 donation dedicated to paying their clients’ green slip insurance. In addition, the greenslips.com.au team would provide funding and skills to support media and outreach campaigns for the branches. The aim was to raise the awareness of the great work Can Assist does and to highlight the need for donations and volunteers in local media.

Sophie says they recognised there were incredible community stories “to share and inspire others” through the media and outreach campaigns.

“I have had the privilege of hearing hundreds of stories from volunteers, patients, carers and social workers across NSW”, says Sophie. “I recall the PsychOncology social worker from Western NSW Health, who was based at Orange Health Service, explaining that ‘Cancer is pervasive, affecting all areas of life for the patient and their family.

Asking for help is important at a practical and emotional level. When you’re in a low emotional state, read more