Cancer Council can assist those with cancer affected by bushfires

Letter: Cancer Council offers help in times of bushfires

The bushfires are continuing to cause devastation across many parts of our state and across other parts of Australia. This has come on the back of the driest period we have faced in decades and the combined impact is causing all of us across our communities to rally together and support each other.

Our hearts go out to those directly or indirectly affected by these bushfires and the ongoing anxiety knowing that this is not over yet. I want to express my personal gratitude to the frontline emergency services personnel who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to protect lives and property in the face of such catastrophic bushfire conditions. They truly are our local heroes.

We have all felt the emotion when we hear the stories of loss and trauma. The tragic loss of life and the impact on our flora and fauna is yet to be fully understood but it is deeply felt. This is also a time that we see and hear about the very best in people and communities. I look forward to more of these as we work together to recover and repair lives and communities across the state and our country.

One important message that I want to convey is for those of you who are living with and/or being treated for cancer. This bushfire crisis will have impacted some of you directly and it could have changed your circumstances. I want you to know that we are here to help.

Whether you or someone you know are affected by cancer and need emergency financial assistance, help travelling to cancer treatment, or somewhere to stay during your cancer treatment, we're here. We are also here to provide emotional support and to answer any questions you might have about cancer - please call our 13 11 20 Information and Support line or access our Online Community so we can help. Our 13 11 20 Information and Support line is open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm, and calls are free and confidential.

We have already had people reach out to us for assistance and we are very glad they have.

There are many organisations who are working around the clock to manage both the immediate threat as well as the urgent needs of people and communities across the state. We know that many of you will have donated your time, effort or money to help these fabulous organisations do their work. I have done the same and so have many of our staff and volunteers. If you're not sure how best to help, here are some ways you can support those affected.

It's important that we continue to look out for each other and ourselves during these difficult months. There are a range of resources available to help you check the current air quality, protect yourself from bushfire smoke or high temperatures, and access necessary support services.

Once again, please know we are here to help you so please do call. We know we can get through this crisis together.

From all of us at Cancer Council NSW, and from me personally, I again thank especially our firefighters and emergency services teams.

Jeff Mitchell

Chief Executive Officer

Cancer Council NSW