Last year, Macmillan Cancer Support gave over £13,000 to 35 people living with cancer in Harrow.
As many cancer patients on low-incomes struggle with the financial fallout of a diagnosis, compounded by the current cost of living crisis and Covid-19, Macmillan is urging anyone in need to seek their support.
Macmillan Grants helped 35 people in Harrow pay for essentials such as heating bills and hospital transport costs, after they were diagnosed with cancer or underwent cancer treatment.
A cancer diagnosis often brings increased and unexpected living costs, such as requiring wigs or post-surgery clothing, a new bed for someone who can no longer climb the stairs to their bedroom, or fresh bedding for those experiencing incontinence and other treatment side-effects. However, one of the biggest expenses facing people with cancer is higher energy bills. Many people undergoing cancer treatment need to have the heating on for longer periods due to the side-effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
With domestic energy prices due to rising by as much as 50% this month, and further increases expected in October when the energy price cap is raised again, this year could present a triple threat for people with cancer, who are already struggling with the financial impact of their diagnosis and the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In recognition of the extraordinary challenges facing cancer patients in 2022, Macmillan has made an extra £3.5 million of emergency funds available to help pay escalating fuel bills.
Sergio, 56, from Harrow explained why his Macmillan grant provided such a lifeline: “I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2018, a month after my mother passed away, so it felt like an overwhelming shock during a time of grief.”
“I am very grateful for the support I received from Macmillan during my cancer. I lost my job as a primary and secondary school music teacher because I could no longer cope with the busy schedule and moving across four different sites. Being on an effectively zero hours contract, I had no rights for sick leave or any type of support from my employer. The Macmillan grant I received helped me to buy winter clothing.”
“The thing that will stay with me forever is the emotional support I got from the Macmillan team at Barts NHS Trust, it was amazing. It was a lonely and uncertain time, however I felt heard and cared for by the whole team at Barts. I am a determined person, sometimes a bit stubborn as well – and I think my level of emotional energy surprised even my treatment team!”
“I moved back to Spain temporarily during Covid-19, and whilst there I helped create a peer network for cancer patients, to support them with their mental health. I hope to establish a similar network in the UK. For now, empathy is at the core of my life, and I look forward to embracing my creativity again with a renewed sense of purpose and belonging.”
Emma Tingley, Macmillan’s Head of Partnerships for London & South East Regions, said: “It’s been an incredibly tough few years for people with cancer. Covid-19 continues to cause great challenges for the clinically vulnerable and now cancer patients are having to contend with a cost of living crisis that has seen prices for fuel and food rocket.
“Macmillan is here for everyone with cancer. But we know there are always more people that we could be helping. So, if you are someone in need of our support, we will do everything we can to ensure you get the practical advice and help that can make life with cancer not simply about survival.”