• Pasqueline Agostinho

Macmillan to help patients struggling with rising fuel bills

MACMILLAN plans to help cancer patients who are struggling to pay for fuel bills amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Music teacher Sergio Lopez who received help from Macmillan during his cancer diagnosis Picture: Sergio Lopez

The charity says that it has made an extra £3m of emergency funds and have already given out £1.6m to support vulnerable patients in the first six weeks of 2022.

Last year, Macmillan gave £12.3m to 33,000 patients across the UK and £1.2m to around 3,300 patients across the capital.

In Hillingdon, it gave £28,000 to 77 people living with cancer, helping them to pay for essentials such as heating bills and hospital transport costs after they were diagnosed with cancer or underwent cancer treatment.

Sergio Lopez, 56, said: "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.".

Mr Lopez was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2018, just one month after his mother passed away, which he described as "an overwhelming shock during a time of grief".

He added: "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!".

Research by Macmillan found that across the UK, 83% of people diagnosed with cancer suffered a financial impact.

Due to the side-effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, many people undergoing cancer treatment will need to have the heating on for longer periods.

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.".

Macmillan grants are a one-off, means tested payment of £350 to help with the extra costs that living with cancer can bring.

Anyone over 18, who has been diagnosed with cancer or undergoing treatment can apply.

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, 8am to 8pm) and talk to the Macmillan Welfare Rights Team.

Further information can also be found on their website:https://www.macmillan.org.uk


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