Spotlight: Family Reach

July 29, 2021

Syros is proud to shine a spotlight on our nonprofit and patient advocacy organization partners that provide valuable support and services to their respective communities.

25 Years of Addressing the Financial Barriers Felt by Families Impacted by Cancer

For many, cancer is a health crisis, which can be followed by a financial crisis. The financial burden on patients and their loved ones can be devastating.

  • •    Nearly one in three families are unable to meet their own basic needs while a child is in treatment.
  • •    Only one-third of cancer patients continued working full-time after their cancer diagnosis.
  • •    4% of adults at year 2 post-diagnosis and aged 50+ depleted their entire life's assets.
  • •    Over one-third of cancer patients report medical and chemotherapy non-adherence as a result of financial hardship.

Syros is proud to support Family Reach, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to removing the financial barriers standing between cancer patients and their treatment. This organization was founded 25 years ago by two families, both impacted by childhood cancer and has now evolved to serve thousands of cancer patients in all 50 states. By building awareness, creating solutions, and engaging with a variety of communities, Family Reach aims to ensure that these patients have a roof over their heads and can pay their bills because if basic needs are not met, everything else is secondary – including cancer care.

Program Helps Give Patients Back Financial Control

Knowing that many families experience loss of income, out-of-pocket expenses, and other socioeconomic challenges when faced with a cancer diagnosis, Family Reach has established the Financial Treatment Plan (FTP), a program aimed to eradicate Cancer-Related Financial Toxicity. By integrating financial health into the cancer journey, the program ensures no family has to choose between their health and their home. The FTP provides emergency grants paired with free financial education, financial coaching, and resource navigation. Not only do these services offer customized financial roadmaps, a meeting with a Certified Financial Planner™, and financial relief to fill the gaps, but also provides a close-knit community for these patients to have real conversations.

Renee, an AML and breast cancer survivor, shares her story about working with Family Reach here and says, “That’s why it was so wonderful last year to speak with the Family Reach representative, and not just about my finances. Family Reach encouraged me to connect with other survivors on social media. This opened a door to a healing I didn’t know I needed.”

The offerings are making a measurable difference in peoples’ lives. In a recent survey, 77% of patients reported a decrease in financial distress after receiving the FTP, with patients who receive more than one service reporting a greater decrease. Family Reach is normalizing discussions about the financial side of cancer, offering meaningful resources, and creating a welcoming community to make a positive difference in these patients’ journeys.

Taking on the Next 25 Years

Family Reach continues to evolve to further address social determinants of health and financial barriers. With the effects of the pandemic, the life-threatening financial barriers and losses associated with a cancer diagnosis have grown in scope. Additionally, there is a rise in late-stage diagnoses as many people missed screenings and doctor appointments to avoid exposure to COVID-19. The organization is poised to take on these challenges and working to make an even greater impact.

Looking ahead, the organization aims to measure both financial and medical outcomes to demonstrate why and how financial treatment should be a standard of care for all cancer patients. Family Reach will continue to make program enhancements, pilot new efforts, and measure their impact to ensure that they are working toward the goal of providing equitable cancer support and long-term systemic change for the cancer community.

Connect with Family Reach to learn more about the important work they’re doing and see how you can get involved.