A charity which helps people cope with the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis will be able to expand its services – thanks to a £200,000 grant.
City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder, has awarded the money to Hammersmith-based Maggie’s, which offers practical and emotional support to people with cancer and their family and friends.
The money will be used to employ a specialist welfare rights and benefits adviser working out of the charity’s west London centre at Charing Cross Hospital.
Last year, Maggie’s, which has 23 centres across the UK, as well as an online centre for support, helped people with cancer claim nearly £38 million in benefits and grants, enabling them and their loved ones to focus on their treatment.
Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:
“A cancer diagnosis is a bombshell in anyone’s life and often not only impacts people emotionally and physically but financially, as they may lose income through having to give up work and face increased costs such as travel to hospital appointments.
“Money is the last thing people should worry about when dealing with cancer, and Maggie’s does a fantastic job of helping them access the financial advice and help they need, allowing them to concentrate all their energies on getting better.”
Maggie’s has continued to support people with cancer throughout the coronavirus crisis on the phone, on email and via its online community. Its centres are now open to see people by appointment and limited drop-ins for those who are visiting hospitals. This support will run alongside the ongoing phone, email and digital support.
Sinead Cope, Centre Head at Maggie’s West London, said:
“We are so grateful to City Bridge Trust for their very generous grant. So many people living with cancer are worried about money and in a lot of cases, people are unable to focus on taking care of themselves until they can relax about their financial situation.
“What’s wonderful is that we tend to find that once people have stopped worrying about money, they make the most of all the other support Maggie’s offers, such as one-to-one sessions with a Cancer Support Specialist, relaxation sessions or gentle exercise programmes.”
Find your nearest Maggie’s centre at www.maggies.org
Zsuzsanna’s story – ‘My main worry was how I would eat’
Zsuzsanna Remeczki, from west London, cared for her partner until his death from pancreatic cancer in March 2018. Six months later she too was diagnosed with cancer, meaning she had to put on hold her career as a care assistant, leaving her struggling to meet even the most basic living costs.
With the help of Jay Shah, a benefits adviser at Maggie’s West London, she received an emergency grant to cover essentials such as food and was helped to access benefits she had previously failed to obtain through lack of confidence and limited English skills.
“After my diagnosis, my money problems got much worse and when things were really bad, I had to go to my neighbour and ask her for food. When I should have been focusing on getting better, my main worry was how on earth I would be able to pay the bills and eat.
“I had previously applied for benefits support, but it had failed. I’d been agonising and worrying about it for so long, not being able to sleep or eat, and when I came into Maggie’s to see Jay, he sorted it out in one phone call.
“Now in the morning when I wake up, I’m not worried about how I will afford to eat. To anybody in a similar situation, please contact your nearest Maggie’s. They can help you with your finances so that you can focus on your health.”