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Thu 01 Dec 2022

Turn to Us this Christmas

We're urging people to “turn to us” as families affected by cancer across Wales feel the strain

Today we're launching our Christmas campaign, urging anyone living with cancer and struggling during the current austerity conditions to “turn to us”.

Many people with cancer already face money worries when they’re diagnosed. Cancer can affect someone's ability to work, higher energy bills are typical as people try to keep warm during treatment, while the travel costs of getting to and from appointments can quickly add up to hundreds of pounds.

Now with the added pressure of the cost-of-living crisis, people with cancer are being affected even more.

We can offer information, advice, practical, and emotional support to anyone affected by cancer. Its benefits advisors and counsellors are hearing from families who are feeling the enormous pressure of the rising cost of living and not knowing where to turn, all while coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis.

The charity has seen an increase in demand for its Benefits Advice service in the last six months, compared to the same period last year. Sadly, more than a third of people referred to the service are terminally ill, with some having to make the difficult choice between heating and eating as they face an uncertain future. 

Tenovus Cancer Care Benefits Advisor, Tammi Lyons, said: 

It’s heart-breaking when I hear from someone trying to come to terms with a cancer diagnosis and one of their greatest concerns is how they are going to afford to heat their homes and buy food - the basics for a healthy life. Many people with cancer are making hard choices to survive, and for some this could be their Christmas.

“We want to remind families affected by cancer they can turn to us for support. We offer a range of services including Benefits Advice, which can help guide people through the benefits and grants they’re entitled to. Our Support Line is also open every day – including Christmas Day – to answer any questions about cancer and direct people to the right support.”

In the last 12 months, Tenovus Cancer Care has helped 1,469 people access over £3.4million worth of benefits.

The charity today launches a video featuring Mal O’Donnell, 64, who has bone cancer.

Mal, from Ely in Cardiff, is an active member of the All-Wales Cancer Community, working alongside Tenovus Cancer Care to campaign for positive change for all people affected by cancer.

Mal said:

I’m terrified about the heating and electric bills. I don’t put the heating or lights on as much as I should. With this cancer I should have a warm home but I’m freezing.

After my wife Lyn passed away, I was diagnosed with cancer eight months later. I was left to deal with it, mostly alone, and the one person I wanted by my side wasn’t there. 

I had Chemo treatment during the Covid-19 pandemic after a five-month delay and then went home to an empty house -  it was terrifying and lonely. Tenovus Cancer Care has been like family to me when I was at my most vulnerable and lonely.”

Our free Support Line is available on 0808 808 10 10. For more information, click here.

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010