Last year, Macmillan Cancer Support gave over £59,000 to around 168 people living with cancer in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council areai.
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 168 people in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area 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. Research by Macmillan found that more than nine in ten people living with cancer in Northern Ireland (96%) reported a financial impact from their diagnosisii.
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 continuing to rise, this year could present a triple threat for people living 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 people living with cancer in the UK pay escalating fuel bills. In the first six weeks of the year, Macmillan has provided over £80,000iii in grants to support vulnerable patients in Northern Ireland who are struggling financially – an increase of 14%iv on the same time period last year.
Robert Cairns, a local Macmillan Benefits Service Advisor employed by Community Advice Craigavon who work in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, said of the additional challenges facing people living with cancer in 2022:
“It’s been an incredibly tough few years for people living 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.
“The Macmillan Benefits Service in Northern Ireland is here to help. If you or someone you know is in need of our support, contact us today. Our service is available in every Health Trust, and our advisors are working to help people living with cancer access the support they need.”
Across the UK, Macmillan gave over £12.3m to over 33,000 cancer patients in 2021v. 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.
Macmillan Cancer Support is doing whatever it takes to make sure every person living with cancer gets the help they need. To find out more about Macmillan grants, including who can apply, call the Macmillan Benefits Service in Northern Ireland 0300 1233 233 and talk to one of our local advisors.
Further information can also be found on our website www.macmillan.org.uk