The voices of the community
The voices of the community.
Tenovus Cancer Care has been bringing practical advice and support to the heart of the community for 75 years. Over these years, we have grown and changed, but some things remain the same and that is continuing to care for the community when and where they need us the most.
Stories are powerful. They paint pictures more than facts and figures ever could. Real stories can reassure people, inspire and cheer people up when they are at a down point. They can encourage people to join a social group like our Sing with Us choirs or to volunteer. Supporting people in the community is at the heart of what we do.
That is why for our 75th year, we will be sharing 75 stories of people who either support us or who have been supported by Tenovus Cancer Care, so that they can tell us their stories in their own words.
These stories will help increase awareness of the signs or symptoms of cancer. They will help us raise money to keep our services and research going.
John is one of our Cancer Support Advisors based at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in North Wales. He’s on hand at the hospital two days a week to help cancer patients with things like money advice and transport assistance. Cancer Support Advisors like John aim to make life a little easier for cancer patients during their treatment and recovery.
“Tenovus Cancer Care has three Cancer Support Advisors in North Wales. Each of us is based at one of the hospitals. There’s myself at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Susan at Ysbyty Gwynedd and Hannah in Wrexham Maelor. Myself and Susan are available on Mondays and Thursdays. Hannah does outreach for one morning a week and we’re in regular contact with each other to best support our clients.
“The role of the Cancer Support Advisor is to help people access financial assistance. We can help people affected by cancer to understand what benefits can be claimed or what grants might be available to them including things like blue badges and transport assistance from their local authority. We meet with our clients and coordinate their applications by helping them to complete forms and by pointing them in the direction of these services, chasing things up and making phone calls. Our aim is to take financial burdens away and offer support where it’s needed.
"We face some interesting geographical challenges in Wales. The radiotherapy unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is the only one in North Wales so I get people coming from as far away as Holyhead, Caernarfon and Wrexham with some patients traveling 110 miles in a round trip for treatment here. Patients that are reliant on public transport may need to arrive hours before their appointment or have to wait for hours after finishing treatment and then be facing a long journey home. You can turn what would normally be a four or five hour day into eight and ten hours very easily.
“We do anything that we can to make that little bit easier for our clients while they're having their treatment and recovering. I have a disabled client that faced losing £64 a week from her employment and support allowance because her terminal cancer diagnosis meant that she would need to move back home to be with mum and dad. We’ve been able to replace that by increasing her personal independent payments. The family were also able to claim petrol allowance for the journey to hospital at £10 a day. They would be making an 82 mile round trip 15 times over the three weeks of treatment and being able to get £150 toward the cost of that is invaluable to people in that position. They were unaware that they were able to apply for a blue badge, which is something I was able to help them with too.
“Parking can be a particular problem for cancer patients who are traveling to and from hospital regularly. A blue badge can significantly help with this. It makes things easier for patients knowing that they don’t have a lengthy walk to and from the hospital and alleviates worries about parking on site. When patients are given a terminal diagnosis we’re also asked questions about writing wills. In some of these situations we’re able to refer clients to Tenovus Cancer Care’s Free Wills Service which offers clients the chance to make or update their will with no upfront cost.
“Whether you think you might be eligible for support or not, just ask the question. We do anything that we can to make that little bit easier for cancer patients while they’re having their treatment and recovering. The lovely side of the job is seeing people walking away with a smile, knowing that they are coping well and that I’ve been able to help them.”
To find out ways you can support us for our 75th Birthday, click here.