Money woes adding to cancer patients’ misery

Young cancer patient

Cancer charity launches guide to help patients access financial support 

18th July 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A cancer support charity has launched a new money guide to help families cope with the huge financial impact of childhood cancer.  

The new guide, made available by Clic Sargent, hopes to stop families falling into debt.  

Research by the charity revealed that families spend an extra £600 a month on average while their child is on active cancer treatment. 

Increased travel and food costs can accompany a decreased income, as a parent often stops work to care for their child.  

Clic Sargent social workers support families from the point of diagnosis, offering an immediate grant, as well as advice and help with gaining benefit support.  

The new online guide sets out to provide a one-stop-shop for families or patients with questions as to the support they can gain, as well as advice on what steps they can take. It also includes video giving advice and parents sharing their real experiences.  

It also contains a number of quick, money saving tips such as checking with energy providers for the very best rates, freezing extras like gym memberships, and searching for discount deals.  

On Wednesday (19 July) the charity will run a Facebook live event, where a panel of experts and specialists will take questions on money management and give out financial tips and advice.  

Joining the talk is Debbie Martin (pictured below) who struggled financially after her son Finn was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just three years old. 

Debbie said her family was "getting by" financially, and would even describe themselves as comfortable prior to Finn’s diagnosis.  

While the family was rocked by the news that Finn had cancer, costs started to increase very quickly.  

She said:  “This has devastated our financial state. Every single bit of our savings was wiped out. Even now we just don’t have any savings. We really don’t have a rainy day fund.  

“Everything gets expensive very quickly. You are paying for fuel and travel right away and we have an old Land Rover which just drinks diesel. You are just flying around, trying to keep up with things. You aren’t shopping properly, you aren’t getting the right things. You are just trying to get on with it.  

“Our power bills kept going up. One of the big things was just keeping Finn warm. He was always really cold as a side-effect and he was nauseous all of the time, so you’re doing washing all of the time and running the tumble dryer seemingly non-stop.  

“The stress was so high all of the time. We didn’t pay the mortgage for two months. That was a real worry. We ended up being able to split the repayments. We just couldn’t pay it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to eat, it is literally that simple.”  

The family were supported by a Clic Sargent social worker, who gave them a grant and assisted them with their benefit applications. 

The stress was so high all of the time. We didn’t pay the mortgage for two months - Debbie Martin

Debbie said: “The charity did a lot for us. I honestly don’t think we would’ve survived without them. Getting Disability Living Allowance was not easy. I don’t know how people do it without help.  

“This money guide and all of the advice and support provided by Clic Sargent will be a fantastic resource for families like ours, going through the hardest of times.”  

Dara de Burca, director of services at Clic Sargent, said: “I’m delighted that we can launch this new resource, which will provide a wealth of support and information for families still reeling from a cancer diagnosis.  

“Families are falling into debt across the UK due to a child’s cancer and we don’t think that’s right or fair. But help is out there and we hope that hundreds of young patients and families will have the financial weight reduced, so they can concentrate on being together and getting well.”