Over the past two years, Macmillan Cancer Support has been sharing part of every donation made via Pennies, receiving over £16,000 so far.
Using this money, Macmillan can help people with cancer to meet costs that can arise from a cancer diagnosis and its treatment. For someone like Karen, who was diagnosed with breast cancer back in April 2009, this practical support is hugely valuable.
Before she had cancer, Karen worked full time and was able to cover all the necessary bills that came with running her home, where she lived with her two daughters. Since the cancer, she wasn’t able to work and as a result, she needed some extra financial support to help pay essential heating bills. But because she had been employed before, Karen could only go on a certain type of benefit that prevented her from receiving any winter fuel payments.
Karen started chemotherapy in October, at the beginning of winter. To prevent any illnesses from attacking her weakened immune system, she needed to stay in-doors and keep warm. But this raised concerns about heating bills.
“You want to do everything you can to keep healthy and get yourself through the chemotherapy and not sit in a house thinking ‘no I can’t afford to put the heating on’. It’s an added stress on top of everything else,” she says.
Things culminated to a critical point when Karen’s boiler broke and she didn’t have the money to fix it. Worried, she turned to her Macmillan cancer nurse for advice, who recommended Karen to apply for a Macmillan grant.
After sending off the form, Karen received some extra money to get the boiler fixed and also discovered Macmillan’s benefits advice line, where she could go for further guidance.
It costs just £198 to provide a grant to someone like Karen so they can heat their home when they really need to. The money donated to Macmillan via Pennies so far, all from donations less than £1, is the equivalent of providing over 80 grants to ensure people recovering from chemotherapy can afford to heat their house – something to remember when you’re getting warm by the fire this winter.