A charity made grants totalling more than £44,000 to Croydon residents with cancer in 2020, to help them through the darkest times of the coronavirus pandemic.
The payments to 144 Croydon residents with cancer were part of £1million in hardship grants made in London by Macmillan Cancer Support during the year. Macmillan paid out £9.2million in similar grants across the whole country, all made possible through donations from the public.
The money was often just to allow people with cancer to pay for essentials, such as heating their homes, travel to hospital appointments, bedding and clothing, as well as the financial impact of the pandemic and the unexpected costs cancer can bring.
Dellasie Avorkliyah, a mother from Croydon, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019, when she was 28.
“When I was diagnosed, my finances were one of my main concerns. As a single mum, who’s the sole income earner, there’s a lot of pressure anyway. But when my cancer treatment made it impossible to continue working, that pressure only became more intense.
“The financial impact of a cancer diagnosis was a big shock to me. No one can prepare you for that shock. It literally feels like someone is pulling the rug from underneath you.
“I wasn’t actually aware of Macmillan grants until someone recommended that I contact the Macmillan support centre at Croydon Hospital. It was thanks to the help of Benny, who used to run the centre, that I received a hardship grant. When I was told I was eligible, it was just like ‘Wow!’.
“That money helped keep me and my son going. It alleviated some of the worries about life’s necessities – the food on the table, bills, not getting into debt.
“It also meant he could continue to attend nursery while I was going through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which was absolutely crucial as a single mum.
“That money might not seem like a huge amount to some, but when you’re living on Universal Credit, a Macmillan grant can make a massive difference. I am so grateful for that.”
Macmillan grants are means-tested, one-off payments of £350, aimed at helping people living with cancer on low incomes. They can be a huge help especially when many cancer patients are having to shield during the coronavirus lockdown.
The charity reports that more than a 39 per cent of people with cancer are severely financially impacted by their diagnosis.
Macmillan expects their grants will continue to be a vital safety net for many and will be in greater demand than ever as many families deal with the double blow of a cancer diagnosis and the financial impact of the pandemic.
Kymberly Goh, Macmillan’s welfare benefits team manager in south London, said:
“As covid-19 continues to impact the lives of people with cancer, we want to reassure everyone that Macmillan is here to help – we’ll do whatever it takes.
“A Macmillan grant is definitely a source of respite for patients when they are in severe financial hardship. So, if you’re struggling to meet the extra costs of cancer, call Macmillan to see if you are eligible for a grant, as well as checking what other benefits you might be entitled to claim, and to access the rest of the support we offer.
“Macmillan is only a phone call away and we will move mountains to help.”
To find out more about Macmillan grants, including who can apply, call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (open seven days a week).
Or visit macmillan.org.uk/grants.
The Macmillan Support Line also has specially trained nurses and cancer information specialists who can provide information and advice, as well as emotional support, to help people with cancer cope with the additional strain of the coronavirus pandemic.
For comprehensive cancer information and support, including Macmillan’s latest guidance on the impact of coronavirus on cancer care, visit www.macmillan.org.uk.
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