My Macmillan grant was a lifeline when I was homeless

Michelle shares her story as Macmillan reveals it has given around £1m in grants to people with cancer in Wales in 2018 thanks to donations


A Pontypridd woman has revealed how a Macmillan grant helped her when she was left homeless during her cancer treatment.


Michelle Sterling from Pontypridd was given a Macmillan grant after being diagnosed with leukaemia in November 2012.


At the time, Michelle was a 52-year-old mature student studying geography and geology and renting a room shortly after losing her husband to cancer.


“Before I was diagnosed, I’d decided to be a proper student and sold all my furniture as I was going to rent a room,” said Michelle.


“It was all very dramatic and I spent 10 weeks in hospital and in that time I lost my room.


“I was classed as homeless but I couldn’t get a place in a hostel as my cancer and treatment meant I was very prone to infection.”


“The council found me a flat but I had nothing to go in it and my consultant wouldn’t discharge me until I had a cooker, a fridge and a washing machine.


“So a £500 Macmillan grant meant I could buy what I needed and get discharged from hospital. It gave me that freedom.


“That grant was a godsend as I had no cash and no funds. I was very grateful and that’s why I support Macmillan now.”


Michelle’s sharing her story as Macmillan Cancer Support reveals it awarded grants of around £1m to people with cancer in Wales in financial hardship last year thanks to funds raised by its supporters.[1]


Around £595,000 in Macmillan grants helped people with cancer in Wales to pay for heating or clothing[2] as having cancer can mean you feel the cold more or may be spending more time at home between treatments.


And around £83,000 was given to people with cancer who were struggling to cover the cost of travelling to and from their appointments with costs that could not be reclaimed through their hospital.


The grants also covered the costs of other essentials to help manage the impact of their cancer, such as beds, chairs, kitchen appliances and washing machines.

Four in five people living with cancer experience a financial impact. The average is £570 a month.[3]


Increased costs can happen because people with cancer’s income goes down while their costs for things such as heating and travelling to hospital for treatment goes up.


In total, the charity gave grants to around 2,600 people with cancer in Wales last year with Rhondda Cynon Taff being the area with the highest number of people awarded grants – around 240 people.


Grants were most commonly given to people living with breast, lung, blood and bowel cancers in Wales.


Richard Pugh, Head of Services (Wales) for Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Half of us will get cancer at some point in our lives so I’m pleased Macmillan awarded around £1m in grants last year to ease their money worries of people with cancer in Wales.


“Cancer can affect so many parts of your life and our Macmillan grants, funded by our supporters, covered essentials from heating to travel costs for around 2,600 people with cancer in Wales in 2018 helping to make money one less worry.


“Grants are just one way Macmillan is there for people with cancer thanks to the public’s support and I’d urge anyone with cancer to get in touch to find out how we can support you.”


Macmillan offers grants to people with cancer who are struggling financially, have a limited income or savings.


To find out about the financial help Macmillan offers, call the Macmillan Support Line free on 0808 808 0000 or visit macmillan.org.uk/moneyworries.


Macmillan is funded almost entirely by donations and we can only fund grants thanks to our amazing supporters. Visit macmillan.org.uk/getinvolved today to donate or volunteer.

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