Anna’s Story

Facing a Cancer diagnosis is terrifying. It is like a tidal wave that knocks you off your feet. At first, it’s the realisation of medication, hospitals and treatment that hits you. Then, it starts to crash past into all aspects of life; work, school, friends, relationships and finances. Your life becomes dominated by treatment, underpinned by the emotional impact of the situation and everything else is put on hold.

2020 has seen families facing this alongside the huge worry, changes and restrictions of the pandemic. This has particularly had a huge impact for many of the families in the south west that we support as families often have to travel hundreds of miles to Bristol for treatment. With restrictions in place this means that families have had to spend increasing time apart and with limited support from their usual support networks. It has also at time meant that families have had to travel to areas that are perhaps more affected by the pandemic than others, increasing anxieties.

As a social worker, it’s my job to help with this collateral, and minimise the damage caused beyond the child’s / young person’s health. To be an emotional support to the whole family, piece together their education, get access to finances, help to navigate benefit systems, support with housing, immigration and employment during an unimaginable situation for most. We’ve also continued to provide bereavement support to families at a time where they have felt even more isolated or those important remembrance spaces have been closed. Our supportive online communities have helped to connect and offer that virtual hug and solidarity. Everyone has had to adapt and change and that’s exactly what we have done with our services, whilst still being there to support children, young people and their families in need.

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