The Official Opposition is calling on the Government of Nova Scotia to provide $300,000 in one-time funding for a Canadian Cancer Society building that houses patients while they receive treatment.
The Lodge That Gives provides overnight accommodations to Nova Scotians who have traveled to Halifax hospitals to fight cancer. Due to Covid-19, it has been temporarily closed since April 17.
“This pandemic has been scary for all of us,” said Karla MacFarlane, MLA Pictou West. “But for those with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, it can be especially terrifying. Having a place like the Lodge is more important now than ever.”
Across Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society raises just shy of $200 million on an annual basis to fund multiple supportive initiatives. They expect to see that number reduced by 40 per cent, or $80 million. With many in person fundraising events cancelled, the main source of donations comes from online at cancer.ca. They have been forced to lay-off staff and are now focusing their resources on continuing to provide vital services to Canadians.
“Over our 30 year history, the Susan K. Roberts - Lodge That Gives has been a home and support system to thousands of Nova Scotians who are required to travel to Halifax for cancer treatment”, said Carey Blair, Board Chair for the Canadian Cancer Society in Nova Scotia.
“For decades, the Canadian Cancer Society has been largely reliant on the generosity of Nova Scotians to sustain this vital operation. However, COVID-19 is proving to be the most dire financial threat to our organization in our 80 year history. We know that the Government of Nova Scotia values the essential service that CCS provides and we look forward to their partnership in assisting us to re-start our operation.”
The Lodge housed over 1,000 individuals in 2019 for almost 11,000 night stays. With the temporary closure of the Lodge, many families facing a cancer diagnosis have been forced to find alternate arrangements such as hotels. The $300,000 being requested would see the operation of the Lodge continue through 2021.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it extremely difficult for charities and non-profits to fundraise,” said MacFarlane “and now the services provided by those donations are very much at risk. We need to do what we can to help those who depend on this vital service."