Cancer patient refuses lifesaving treatment because hospital is too far from home

“Giving is not just about making a donation. It’s about making a difference.”

Kathy Calvin.


Imagine one of your parents has just received a diagnosis for cancer.  Their cancer is rare and the local hospital doesn’t have the capability to provide the complex treatment required. Your mum, dad, grand-parent, or whoever it may be, is referred to a larger city facility with more advanced treatment options. 

Imagine the family member who’s just received this life-changing diagnosis is a pensioner, they’re financially challenged, and they must travel for five hours to receive this treatment as an outpatient and spend between two and five days away from home every week for the next eight weeks.

Imagine that, because they can’t afford accommodation near the hospital, their only practical choice is to refuse the critical treatment and let the cancer take its course.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Financially, cancer treatment isn’t always a practical option for some patients, no matter how much we love them.

And, sadly, as you’re imagining this scenario, this was the reality for *Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is elderly, frail, seriously ill and she was stressed beyond belief.

When she received her diagnosis for a rare form of cancer earlier in the year, she was initially confined to only one realistic option.

To turn down the treatment, stay at home, and do what she could to make herself comfortable.

Living so far away, it was impossible for her to make the mammoth journey to the Sydney hospital, pay for accommodation during her weekly outpatients treatments, and return the following week to do it all over again.

The funds didn’t exist.

Thankfully, social workers at the Sydney hospital were aware of Heartfelt Homes and contacted me to see if we could provide accommodation for *Elizabeth so she could receive her cancer treatment.

What would you have said in my position?

On this occasion, with thanks to the generosity of Heartfelt Homes donors, I could say YES to Elizabeth so she could start the eight-week treatment program which undoubtedly gave her the best possible outcome for her diagnosis.   

Heartfelt Homes’ donors made this ‘yes’ possible. And we can’t stop there.


Our mission is to say YES to every single family that needs our support, every single time, but I still have to say no to some families.

I still have to put the phone down knowing that the wife and child of a patient might have to spend a night in their car.

I still have to end conversations with “I’m sorry, we can’t help you” knowing that someone else might not be able to receive the critical treatment they need to survive.  

And sadly, if Elizabeth needs our support again, I can’t guarantee that I won’t have to turn her away, too. Even though I know she’s in great need and her life might depend on it.


In a medical crisis, when life is turned upside down and the future is uncertain, sometimes the only thing you can count on is the people you love being right by your side. But this isn’t always possible for the thousands of patients whose financial resources are stretched to their limits. 

Please help us make a difference and keep families together when patients need them the most.

Please will you donate to Heartfelt Homes today to help us help more families facing medical crisis far away from home stay together?

CLICK HERE NOW to make a donation, and a big difference to Australian families for financial year 2016-2017.

On behalf of *Elizabeth, and all the Australian families that can now stay close together at a time they need each other the most, our most Heartfelt thanks for your support to Heartfelt Homes.

*Names have been changed to protect identity. 

2017-06-28T12:17:18+10:00 June 28th, 2017|

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