The Cancer Society says it is still here supporting people with cancer, despite closing offices and suspending some services in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Cancer Society Otago-Southland chief executive Rachael Hart said the virus was having “a big impact on the lives of many and we’ve had to change how we do things”.”
Cancer treatments are still going ahead and we want people with cancer to know we are still here for them. But like many services we have had to change the way we do this in the short term,” Ms Hart said.
“We are continuing to help patients from out of town to find accommodation while in Dunedin for treatment.
“We have a thorough screening and sanitisation programme in place as health and safety is a priority.”
Ms Hart said the Cancer Society had unfortunately had to suspend its driving service, as many drivers needed to stay safe at home.
“We are working closely with the Southern DHB and families to find other transport to treatment options, including using our staff members.”
Ms Hart said the Cancer Society wanted people to know that they were still supporting local people during their cancer experience.
“The doors to our offices may have had to close but we are still here.
“You do not have to feel alone when we are only a phone call away – please reach out and contact us for advice and support, or if you are feeling lonely” she said.
The Cancer Society has moved its support online and is contacting people through a variety of platforms.
People can phone the 0800 Cancer (226 237) cancer helpline to speak directly to a support staff member.
All large group fundraisers run by Cancer Society Otago-Southland in March through to May have been postponed, including the Dunedin Relay for Life, which was to have been held on March 28.
This has had an impact on the Cancer Society’s ability to provide services as it faces a significant reduction in donations.
People wanting to support the Cancer Society can go to https://otago-southland.cancernz.org.nz/how-to-get-involved/ways-to-donate/donate-now/