POLA card – an easier way to respond to cancer related challenges!
In Lithuania, more than 18,000 people are affected by cancer each year. Despite the population’s decline, the number of diagnosed cases is gradually increasing. Today, about 100,000 people with cancer are treated or are subject to a regular screening for potential recurrence of cancer.
Cancer is an insidious disease, which can affect people of any age, including infants. At early stages, symptoms are rarely displayed, while methods of treatment give no guarantee of terminal cancer remission. The treatment process is lengthy and wearisome. The disease often produces a number of lasting adverse effects, including disability and decreased income, while treatment and subsequent recovery require substantial resources. Although Lithuania offers high-level health care services, there is still a great need for psychological, emotional and financial support.
The Cancer Patients Support Association (POLA) brings together cancer patient societies and other NGOs playing an active role in the area of cancer patient support. POLA seeks to minimise the number of people affected by cancer and ensure that the sick have the access to the best possible medical, informational, social, psychological and mental support.
The project aims at improving the quality of life of cancer patients by reducing their financial burden, supporting with them positive emotions and attitude, demonstrating the public’s solidarity, support and assistance – everything to show that cancer patients could feel as fully-fledged members of the society. After all, together, it’s easier to recover.
A number of researches suggest that the psychological condition and emotional wellbeing of a disease-affected person significantly improve with the help of art therapy and cultural events, whereas good emotions and positive thoughts facilitate their recovery.
Launched in the beginning of 2014, the project “Getting Better Together Is Easier” has been implemented all over Lithuania with a focus on all patients who have been diagnosed with cancer, both children and adults.
As a part of the project, the POLA card is issued free of charge to people with cancer, entitling them to various discounts on goods and services, access to seminars, training and similar events for patients and their families organised by POLA or POLA partners. The card also offers free invitations to cultural events (theatre performances, concerts and museums).
Currently, POLA has agreements with more than 90 business partners, which offer up to 75% discounts on their services, some of them provide free services. Also, POLA cooperates with 50 cultural institutions (public and private), which provide our Association with some free invitations to their events, depending on the availability.
Any individual diagnosed with cancer may be issued with the card, following his or hers acceptance of our rules and completion of the application form. If cancer has been diagnosed for a minor, the POLA card may be issued to one of the parents or guardians.
You may obtain the POLA card by applying online or contacting one of the card ambassadors across 18 Lithuanian cities and towns.
Until now, we have issued approximately 6,000 POLA cards. In 2016 alone performances and concerts were attended by more than 5,400 people with cancer. We are satisfied with the results of the first project years, however, given that 18,000 new cases are confirmed in Lithuania each year, the number is still low. In the light of this, we seek to develop the project, giving it greater visibility, more actively collaborate with cultural institutions and widen the possibilities of support at regional level.
At the time of issue, the applicant is requested to produce medical evidence of the cancer diagnosis. Since the card is personal and has a unique number on it, a service supplier has the right to ask you to show your ID. This way we can guarantee that the support will be provided only to those for whom it is intended.
We kindly invite businesses and cultural institutions to join the POLA card programme. It is encouraging that an increasing number of entrepreneurs and artists show solidarity with cancer patients. For cooperation, please contact us by phone 8 620 74646 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The POLA card project is administered by the Cancer Information and Support Centre (Alytus).