Families often don’t give enough thought to finances and fundraising when seeking international care.
Carefully considering the full cost of medical bills, travel, housing, and living costs – both during treatment and follow up care – Is vital to ensure your child’s life is protected.
You do not have the luxury of time in raising funds for your child’s treatment, especially if doctors advise the eye be removed. Your child’s life will be at risk if you delay treatment while fundraising.
Consider the Costs Involved
Ask for a full treatment costing, and communicate with the hospital’s international patient program about finances.
Ask the doctors how many treatments they plan to give, and how many treatments may ultimately be required – they initial number they give you may be less than what your child actually needs. Plan financially around the highest number, not the lowest.
Travel and Living Costs
As well as funding for medical bills, you must also have funds available for travel, accommodation and living expenses, which can mount up quickly. Many countries will not allow you to work under the conditions of your visa, and you will likely not be able to as you will be focused on looking after your child. So your income may be very limited during your child’s international care.
Ask how long the doctors expect you will be at their centre – this may be far longer than the duration of treatment. The doctors will likely want to follow your child for some time before you return home, to ensure any relapse is detected and treated early.
Travel Health Insurance
We strongly advise you also purchase Travel Health Insurance for the accompanying parent, especially if you are seeking care for your child in the USA.
Follow Up Care
Discuss the expected follow up schedule and potential costs with the international and local centres from the very beginning of your communications.
Consider whether the cost of initial treatment will leave sufficient funds to meet the cost of follow up care, especially if you plan to finance treatment with a loan or remortgage. You repayment commitments may compromise your ability to fund necessary follow up care or treatment if your child’s cancer returns.
Create a separate bank account for fundraising. This will ensure you can keep clean, accurate records of income and expenditure, and be transparent about how you spend the money.
Create an appeal pack and website telling your child’s story. Add a PayPal account and cheque donation details. Keep the donation process simple.
PayPal allows customers to hold two accounts – one personal and one business. Keep your fundraising PayPal account separate from any personal account you hold for online transactions.
If you already hold a personal and business account, call PayPal customer services as you will likely be able to set up a third account linked to your fundraising bank account.
Use the media (newspapers, TV, radio and social networking sites like Facebook) to promote your appeal and encourage donations.
There are many fundraising resources online. You are also welcome to use the suggestions in our Fundraising Pack. Please do not use the World Eye Cancer Hope name or logo unless you are donating a portion of funds raised to our organization.
Increasingly, families are fundraising for a child’s medical care. Unfortunately, a small minority have misused donated funds, rousing distrust of such appeals. Some online appeals have been revealed as scams.
Potential donors often question how their money will be spent if not enough is raised to enable treatment, or if more is raised than is needed. If they cannot answer this question, they may not make a donation. Consider this when organizing a fundraising appeal.
Be as transparent as possible. Look at your appeal as a potential donor – does it provide all you would want to see if you were considering a gift?
Obtain a letter of support on official hospital letterhead from a key doctor at the international centre. Include this in an appeal pack and as a PDF or image on the website. This will legitimize your appeal, significantly improving its chances of success.
Keep careful records of all receipts and payments, in case someone asks for evidence of how donations have been spent, or accuses you of wrongdoing.
Decide what you will do with the money if too little or more than enough is raised. Clearly state this in your appeal, and provide a link to further information about the planned recipient of residual funds. Suggestions are:
Use funds for treatment locally, with excess going to X organization
donate funds to X local hospital for care of children with cancer
donate funds to X charity whose mission is Y
Organizations rarely fund international treatment for individual children with cancer as the costs for a single child can be very high and the demand is great. Regrettably World Eye Cancer Hope cannot help with theses costs as we must focus our limited funds on building up care that can help many children.
Please be honest when discussing finances as a family and with the doctors and international patient office. Raising funds is extremely difficult and you must be realistic about the chances of success. Your child’s life may depend on these decisions.
When cancer is contained in the eye, it is highly curable by removing the eye, after which the child can receive an artificial eye. When cancer escapes the eye, it becomes a very serious, life threatening situation. Even with intensive sophisticated (and very expensive) care, the chances of cure are extremely small.
If care is likely to be delayed by more than several weeks while you seek funding, please discuss your options for prompt treatment at home to protect your child’s life.
We are happy to help you work with the doctors at home and internationally to ensure your child receives appropriate care. If you require assistance, please contact us.