Cancer and Coronavirus – As tough as it gets
Our research revealed that around half of young people with cancer and parents found it hard to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Young Lives vs Cancer set out to understand the impact of these unprecedented times. We wanted to provide better support for young cancer patients and their families and advocate for the support they need.
We conducted three online surveys between April 2020 and February 2021 with young cancer patients and families. The surveys explored the practical, emotional and other impacts of the pandemic.
Our surveys said…
The results of our first two surveys were published in our September 2020 report.
The results of the third survey are set out in our August 2021 research briefing.
Some of our findings showed that:
Parent of a child with cancer
The one parent at bedside policy has been the most difficult of the situation. It is very difficult to take in complicated information on your own and try to relay it. Also for bad news not having the support around you. The impact on this has been very upsetting… this has been a truly horrendous time and with the current situation has made it even harder.
We believe it is vital that:
- Access to mental support is a priority as the health system moves into the recovery phase and beyond
- Analysis is done to understand the impact of the pandemic on cancer diagnosis and treatment experiences of children and young people. This is so that any potential ongoing impacts can be tackled
- Gaps in support that have been caused or made worse by the pandemic are understood. This is important so the NHS, charities and others can work together to make sure that children and young people with cancer get the support they need
When times are tough we all need a #Hand2Hold.
As a result of the pandemic we knew that some young cancer patients were receiving the news that they have cancer, alone. And some were facing treatment alone. In a poll conducted on Young Lives vs Cancer’s Facebook support group for young cancer patients, 90% of young people said they had experienced treatment alone in hospital during this time.
We understand that precautions aimed to protect the most vulnerable. But for young cancer patients it is important to have support of a parent, friend or partner. Wherever safe and possible, we wanted them to have a #Hand2Hold through this challenging time.
The majority of pandemic restrictions are now lifted. But some hospitals may still have their own in place for visitors and appointments. If you are 16-25 and are experiencing any restrictions, speak to your clinical or social care team for support and advice on having a visitor with you.
During the pandemic we put together guidance for young people on having these discussions:
If you experienced any part of your cancer treatment or journey alone due to coronavirus restrictions and would like to share your story with us, you can send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
#Hand2Hold is a joint campaign led by Young Lives vs Cancer and Teenage Cancer Trust. During the pandemic we met with and wrote to the Cancer Minister. We also wrote to the Health Ministers in all nations on this issue.
The pandemic caused a huge increase in demand for Young Lives vs Cancer’s support services. However, we also experienced a 60% drop in income. And fundraising events, including the London Marathon were put on hold or cancelled.
In April 2020 the government announced it would provide £750 million in financial support to charities in the UK which were in crisis because of the impact of coronavirus. However, it was unclear how to apply for it or who qualified. This lack of transparency meant Young Lives vs Cancer was unable to access any of it. There was radio silence from the government on this issue.
With your help we campaigned throughout 2020 to highlight the importance of our services. We asked the government for funding to ensure Young Lives vs Cancer can continue its vital work.
This is how we did it:
- 27 healthcare professionals highlighted how Young Lives vs Cancer supports the NHS
- 4,200 young cancer patients and their families supported by Young Lives vs Cancer signed an open letter to show what our support meant to them
- 34 MPs called for £750,000 to help Young Lives vs Cancer fund vital social care support for children and young people with cancer in a letter to the government
Since then, a report has been published after many charities were unable to get any support. The report:
- Highlights the lack of transparency on how the funding was allocated and decisions were made
- States the government should take clear actions to check and understand the financial health of the charity sector
We hope the government acts on the recommendations of this report. We remain committed to working in collaboration with other charities to show just how essential the charity sector is for the millions of vulnerable people across the UK.
If you want to know more about any of our campaigns, including how you can support them or get involved, we’d love to hear from you! Please email: email@example.com
You may also be interested in...
Two years since the UK went into lockdown, young people are still facing cancer alone, say cancer charities
Young people who are being supported by Young Lives vs Cancer and Teenage Cancer Trust have come forward with heart-breaking accounts of having to face...Read more
Young Lives vs Cancer reacts to the government’s response to report on emergency funding allocation for charity sector
The government has responded to a report about the emergency funding allocation for the charity sector at the start of the pandemicRead more
A month after the £750m relief package, we’ve heard nothing
CLIC Sargent CEO Rachel Kirby-Rider has called out the government over the lack of transparency for charities accessing the £750m relief package announced by Rishi...Read more