Every week the Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation receives a large amount of Grant applications from Young Cancer Patients and their families, requesting monetary help. You would be forgiven for thinking this is for a treat like a Smart TV, new Ipad or something fun and frivolous. But you would be wrong!
A shocking 87% of our grants are paid to help with necessities of life and to help alleviate the financial pressures a cancer diagnosis brings to a family, especially when it is a young person.
In the first instance the parent or main care often has to give up work in order to be by their child’s side. They will not receive benfits thus making a significant dent in the household income.
Many of our grant applicants have to travel great distances to the hospital where they receive their care and treatment. Sometime public transport is not an option due to the risk of infection. Indeed some patients are too weak to travel this way. This results in high taxi fares or an increase in petrol and parking costs.
Once ensconced in hospital one is faced with extra food bills and living costs, especially if based in London. Richard and Nikki know from bitter experience that Tom hated the food so they had to buy him three meals a day – a very costly business.
With one member of the family staying by the bedside of the teenager, this often means the 2nd parent or carer needs to find accommodation nearby, often at great cost. Failing this they would stay at home and travel to and fro each day. None of this money is funded nor does any help come from the Government.
Over the past few months it has become clear how much worry and upset this causes the young person who should really just be focusing on their treatment and recovery.
One of the applications that shocked the Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation recently was for a bath chair. The young patient was very poorly and due to have an operation. He didn’t have the strength to stand up to wash or shower and needed a special bath chair to help him. Tom had one of these provided to him free for the Occupational Therapy team but apparently this is no longer a service they provide! The Foundation paid £100 to help make a difference to this young mans life.
With an increase in these applications we are launching an appeal to raise £10000. This will allow us to help, on average, 25 young people who are in desperate need at an already very worrying time.
Please will you help us to continue our invaluable work and make a difference to these young adults and teenagers.