Outreach Program 2023
funded by the Saunders-Matthey Cancer Prevention Fund
BCAK has been the successful recipient of this grant for the past two years. This grant has allowed us to expand our efforts to reach out to both the men and women living with this disease, as well as the public in general throughout our extensive catchment area.
With this grant, we have developed and will continue to develop initiatives to increase awareness through the various media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, print, and radio that focused on Kingston, Belleville, Brockville, Napanee, Trenton, Gananoque, Picton and their surrounding rural areas.
This grant has also allowed us to strengthen and renew our partnerships with the Cancer Center at Kingston General Hospital, the Hotel Dieu, Belleville, Brockville and Perth and Smiths Falls General Hospitals. These partnerships have resulted in:
a substantial growth in the demand for our Post-Op Puffy Pillows. We have delivered over 200 pillows this year, a doubling from 81 in 2021. As a result of this increased demand, we have needed more volunteers to hand sew more pillow covers and produced more informational brochures, which are placed in the pocket of each pillow to inform these women about our services.
the introduction of the Camisole Program which provides a comfortable post-surgical camisole free of charge to newly diagnosed women having a mastectomy in our area, who would otherwise not be able to afford one.
an increase in the number of applications for financial assistance in 2022, totalling over $27,000 to date, which is a doubling over last year’s $13,700. Financial Assistance is available to cover general living expenses, medications, wigs, bras, prostheses, and lymphedema relief.
BCAK has also witnessed a steady growth in the use of our programs and services outside of Kingston. For example, 3 of the 8 current 1 on 1 peer support matches have connected women from beyond Kingston in Sharbot Lake, Belleville and Mallorytown with our breast cancer thrivers and survivors who have been through similar experiences.
These developments are wonderful, but we want and need to do more to support as many people affected by breast cancer in our area as we can. Here are some of our immediate plans in this regard.
1.Fitness Programs Outside of Kingston
BCAK’s fitness programs include Aerobics and Weight Training, Yoga, Qigong, and Aquafit, but are currently only available in Kingston. Feedback from activities in our outlying region indicated that there is an interest in more accessible exercise programs in other locations. As a result of this need, we are now in the process of setting up an Aqua Fit program in partnership with a seniors’ residence in Belleville. This item was in our budget for 2022 with a kick off in the first quarter of 2023.
We would also like to engage members outside of Kingston to help us identify and develop other fitness programs for the women in their communities over time, such as walking groups or exercise classes.
2. Targeted Awareness Outside of Kingston
Part of our original plan was to provide local and area GPs with BCAK information. While the past two years we have focused our resources on public awareness and area hospitals, we now need to reach out to as many GPs as we can in our catchment area to make sure they are aware of BCAK and what we have to offer. We will also provide them with our informational brochures so that they can distribute them to their patients.
In relation to this initiative, one of our new Directors is a GP, who is also a survivor. With her input and commitment, we have engaged a Graphic Designer for new posters for distribution to GP offices and health units throughout our region, and at the new Regional Diagnostic Center. This item was in our budget for 2022 and will be initiated in December 2022 and carried forward into 2023.
We are also planning to identify members from our larger catchment area to help engage other women from their communities with BCAK as both recipients and providers of our services and programs. In this regard, we would like to participate in community events in locations such as Napanee, Belleville, Gananoque, and Brockville, next year.
3. Website Analytics Need
A strong web site presence is important to achieve our goals, especially in more remote parts of our region where there is less access to our office and less awareness of our services and programs. Our website, while being functional and informative, is not getting the desired results to drive and increase awareness throughout our area. This is especially true of our mobile presence, which is cumbersome at best. We have had success driving visitors to the website because of our media campaigns, but this is not sustained once the campaign is over. As we increase access to services and programs throughout our catchment area, our internet presence will become critical to effectively communicating that to as many people as possible in SE Ontario and sustaining that access.
Our search engine optimization is not as efficient or effective as it needs to be and we are looking at working with a professional web designer to remedy this. This will provide us with a much needed, professional website, that will encourage, not discourage, visitors and engage them. This item was in our budget for 2022 and if approved, will be initiated in the first quarter of 2023.
This grant has allowed us to continue to develop and expand our Outreach Program for people dealing with breast cancer throughout Southeastern Ontario. We aim to continue to increase membership, strengthen community recognition, and encourage broader participation in BCAK programs and services.
To achieve our goals, we would continue with the following:
Promote BCAK and our services through continued directed advertising
Social media targeted campaigns
Community newspaper ad campaigns
Snail mail campaigns
Press release campaigns
Participate in events within our broader catchment area
Continue to strengthen partnerships with the local area hospitals, social workers, Cancer Clinics, and breast cancer related businesses and services throughout our area
Engage more members from outside of Kingston in the development, delivery and use of our programs and services, and
Increase access to our services and programs in our outreach area.
We also want to initiate the following:
Create new partnerships with the new Cancer Diagnostic Centre for this region
Extend our services and programs in outlying communities
Communicate and coordinate with, and inform local health units in outlying communities about the services and programs BCAK provides and supply them with our brochures
Distribute newly designed posters and our print materials to General Practitioners throughout our area and engage them and their patients with BCAK
Improve our website and broader sustained engagement with BCAK throughout our area
The Outreach Program is an important ongoing part of BCAK’s strategic planning and the development, delivery, and sustainability of all our programs and services into the future.