The Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation is proud to rename the Cancer Patient Care Fund, one of the Foundation’s largest funds, in honour of its founder, Tom MacNeil.
The fund was officially renamed the ‘Tom MacNeil Cancer Patient Care Fund’ during a virtual retirement celebration held in Tom’s honour. MacNeil, Medical Social Worker, retired from his role at the Cape Breton Cancer Centre after 40 years in the field of social work and social services, including more than 20 years at the Cancer Centre.
“With the help of Tom, the Cancer Patient Care Fund has disbursed more than $3.2 million to people battling cancer, right here, at home,” says Paula MacNeil, CEO of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation. “When his colleagues approached us suggesting we rename the fund in his honour, it was an easy decision to make. We’ll miss Tom dearly, and we’re pleased to carry on his legacy and work.”
In 2005, recognizing a dire need, Tom founded the Cancer Patient Care Fund, which aims to relieve financial stress for those battling cancer. The fund, which now supports approximately 45 cancer patients each month, helps to cover costs of travel to-and-from medical appointments, both locally and to Halifax; home bills such as heating and groceries; psychosocial support programs such as art therapy, counselling services and support groups, music therapy, yoga, and Thai chi; and more.
“To have my name associated with an entity that does its best to eliminate one of the worries of cancer is very rewarding,” says Tom MacNeil, founder of the Cancer Patient Care Fund. “Many people suffer job loss either temporarily or permanently when cancer strikes, and people often find themselves with bills they didn’t have before, by way of medical expenses. The Cancer Patient Care Fund has been a communal endeavor to help with these expenses. Words cannot express my gratitude for this honour and to everyone who has supported the Cancer Patient Care Fund.”
MacNeil is recognized throughout the CBRH and Cape Breton Cancer Centre for his tireless effort to ensure cancer patients and their families had proper supports and resources required to ease their journey. The staff of the Foundation as well as the Cancer Centre would like to extend their gratitude for Tom’s work, and wish him well in his retirement.
“Tom never wavered in his conviction to make a difference in the lives of others,” says Valerie Nugent, Director of Cancer & Palliative Care Services for NSH Eastern Zone. “His devotion to and passion for helping others was evident in his everyday work. Tom will certainly be missed by all, but it is reassuring to know that his legacy will carry on through ‘Tom’s Fund’.”
A Note from Tom MacNeil:
“This is a great honour for me. Very humbling actually. I like to think the Cancer Patient Fund has made a difference in the lives of many people who struggle with a cancer diagnosis. I like to think too that the fund helped highlight to the public that illnesses like cancer can have serious economic implications.
No one is immune from cancer and it doesn’t take much to disrupt our economic equilibrium, if we really think about it. Many people suffer job loss either temporarily or permanently when cancer strikes and people often find themselves with bills they didn’t have before by way of medical expenses. For some it can be the perfect storm.
To have my name associated with an entity that does its best to eliminate one of the worries of cancer is very rewarding. I’d like at this time to thank everyone who has either donated to the fund or who has organized events to raise money for it.
The Cancer Patient Care Fund has been a communal endeavor. I am glad the Cape Breton community appreciates what the fund does and I hope the community continues to support it. Words cannot really express my gratitude for this honour and to everyone who has supported the Cancer Patient Care Fund.”