I went to Church yesterday with my neighbour to shop at a 'Holiday Vendor Extravaganza' which was organised to raise money for a local lady who was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.
Having been through a cancer scare last year, and knowing that Jeremy is at a higher risk of colon cancer because of his colitis, I was keen to support the cause. I only have a small insight into what they are going through.
So why do they need to raise money? Well over here the health care system is far from free. I may have mentioned before but it's an insurance based scheme. It's a big deal (health insurance premiums can be more than your mortgage) and a lot of people choose a job based on the company's health care scheme. For example the lady who ran the local play centre for kids had to sell up because she was self employed and couldn't get health care insurance as her husband was too sick and the insurance company decided he was costing them too much money.
Even if you do have insurance cover, you have to pay the excess which can be hundreds of dollars for a hospital stay. And if you don't have insurance, you had better hope that you don't end up in hospital. When Jeremy was hospitalised earlier this year the bill for the week was $15,000 and the excess was $1300!!
Yesterday was about raising money for the family to help pay these medical bills, get a nanny for her kids and cover travel expenses. I don't know where she is being treated but we have to commute to a hospital 2 hours away for Jeremy's care.
It puts the NHS into perspective. I know it is not perfect by any means but it's amazing to think that here you don't just have to worry about getting better, but how on earth you will pay for it. I hear stories of people who can't afford to have another baby because of the medical bills. Makes you think.
But we had fun today, I picked up some Christmas presents, Charlotte got her face painted, I bumped into a lovely family I haven't seen for nearly a year (who went to Gymboree with Toby and I) and I even 'won' a beautiful glass plate in the silent auction.
As ever, the community spirit in this town blows me away. I hear the day was a huge success and I hope and pray the lady gets all the care she needs and life is a little easier knowing some of those bills will be paid.
Here is the plate I won. It's very bright and will go great with my multi coloured kitchen accessories!