Derry cancer patients get vital benefits boost from Macmillan charity

Derry cancer patients get vital benefits boost from Macmillan charity

Macmillan Benefits Advisor, Lisa McCloskey said that "cancer comes with lots of unexpected costs and often a loss in income"

Figures released show that cancer patients in Derry and the north-west were given vital financial help thanks to the efforts of the Macmillan Cancer Support charity.

The charity's benefits advice service between June 2020 and June 2021 secured more than £3.8million in financial support to cover the cost of essentials needed for day to day living.

That meant each person receiving treatment within the Western Health and Social Care Trust area on average claimed £3464.

Along with the life-threatening affects that comes with cancer, those receiving treatment also face financial pressures such as loss of earnings which in turn affect the care of any dependents a particular patient has.

Lisa McCloskey is a Macmillan Benefits Advisor in the Western Trust area, and says that no-one who has a life-threatening illness should have to worry about how to pay their bills or cover the costs of getting to hospital.

She said: “Cancer comes with lots of unexpected costs and often a loss in income.

“For those who have never tried to navigate the benefits system before, it can feel like a maze, especially when someone is going through gruelling treatment or struggling to deal with the emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis.

“We want everyone living with cancer in the Western Trust area to know we’re here to help make sure they get access to all the money they’re entitled to. I’d urge anyone with cancer to get in touch today and see how we can help.”

Macmillan relies almost entirely on donations from the public to fund its services, and since the pandemic hit, has seen its fundraising income drop .

The charity is hoping that after 18-months of cancelled fundraising events, people across the Western Trust area will sign up for its World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday, September 24, which is facing a staggering £20million income drop for the second year running.

Paula Kealey, Strategic Partnership Manager at Macmillan in Northern Ireland added: “Dealing with the emotional and physical impacts of cancer is one thing, trying to do so while worrying about how to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head is another.

“A cancer diagnosis can turn people’s lives upside down with a huge range of emotional, physical and financial impacts.

“It’s not always what goes on in hospital that concerns people the most – for many, money is the next biggest worry after the shock of their initial diagnosis.

“Cancer is simply not something anyone can budget for and we are immensely proud of what our Macmillan benefits advisors are achieving when it comes to relieving just some of the financial anxiety experienced by people with cancer.

“These are services that simply would not be there without the continued backing of our generous supporters who we need now more than ever before after 18-months of cancelled fundraising events amidst the pandemic.

“With our flagship World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event just around the corner on Friday, September 24, we hope everyone will get involved so we can keep services like this running at a time when people with cancer need us the most.”

To contact the Macmillan Benefits Advice Service in the Western Trust, call 0300 1233 233 or email

If you are interested in signing up to host a World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, log on at:

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