Patient Needs and Financial Support

Photograph of a young couple and their baby in their home.

The Ottawa Hospital performs over 200 stem cell transplants per year to cure life-threatening illnesses, including acute and chronic leukemia, aplastic anemia, myelodysplasia, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, and wide-ranging autoimmune illnesses. Approximately 40% of the patients are from outside the Ottawa region, from various regions across Canada to receive their treatment. Because of severe immune system suppression resulting from pre-transplant chemo or radiation therapy, patients are required to remain in the region in isolation, outside of hospital facilities, for a post-transplant period of approximately 3 months.

Expenses infographic.

These Personal Expenses Can Exceed $20,000 Per Patient

Consequently, patients and their families face significant out-of-pocket expenses that are not considered as direct stem cell therapy costs and that are not covered by public health care plans. Examples of these additional costs include travel to and from Ottawa, long-term accommodations, high-quality nutrition, cleaning services, local transportation, parking, equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs, as well as continuation of day-to-day financial obligations at home. These expenses can exceed $20,000 per patient.

Additionally, patients who are self-employed or working in small businesses commonly lose their main source of personal income during this period of care. This financial burden is too high for many and lead some patients to decline lifesaving stem cell therapy.

The Stem Cell Patient Fund provides financial assistance to patients requiring help to cover such expenses. The Fund’s returns on investment are transferred to The Ottawa Hospital, where TOH Social Workers disburse funds to Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program patients requiring assistance. If you or a loved one need assistance, please inquire about the Stem Cell Patient Fund support with TCT Program Social Workers or clinical professionals. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out directly to us ( with your questions on patient support.