Posted on Tuesday 1 November 2022

in News

Young Lives vs Cancer launches Crisis Fund to help families with devastating rising costs of living

This winter, children, young people and families facing cancer are in desperate need of immediate financial help. Young Lives vs Cancer has launched a Crisis Fund to help support children and young people with cancer and their families who are struggling with rising cancer costs amid the cost-of-living crisis across the UK.

“If these families don’t receive the support of a Crisis Fund soon, the consequences could be devastating."

The Crisis Fund is an additional £500,000 that Young Lives vs Cancer will be providing directly to families and young people, in addition to its existing grants. 

The emergency fund comes after the charity has been witnessing daily the struggles of families to afford the basics of fuel, heating, food and clothing for children and young people with cancer. 

Rachel Kirby-Rider, Chief Executive of Young Lives vs Cancer, said: “As the cost-of-living crisis sweeps the UK, the children, young people we support and their families are having to deal with the uncontrollable costs of cancer alongside the fear a cancer diagnosis brings; the pressure is becoming unbearable.  

“They are left having to make impossible choices. Deciding between putting the heating on to keep warm or paying for petrol to get to hospital for treatment; getting the food desperately craved while on chemotherapy or buying a warm coat.   

“We are witnessing the worst cost-of-living crisis we have seen. So many of the families of the young cancer patients we support are hitting financial rock bottom. 

“We cannot sit by and let those already devastated by all that cancer throws at them, struggle even more. We have heard from our social workers just how desperate the situation is. We can’t wait for the government to intervene; we need to help families now. 

“We know our Crisis Fund won’t tackle all of the additional costs children, young people and their families are facing, but it will certainly help during such a challenging time.” 

"You go into panic mode thinking ‘how are we going to afford it? How are we going to do this?’"

Social workers from the charity across the UK have been hearing the devastating impact the cost-of-living crisis is having – and the potential threat it can have on accessing treatment. 

Social worker Lee, who supports young people with cancer at University College Hospital in London, said: “I’ve had two young people approach me within the last week to tell me that they have purposely missed their chemotherapy treatment days simply because they could not afford to travel into London. 

“By accessing the Crisis Fund, we as a social work team are able to provide vital support for these young people for when they really need it and to stop things like this happening.” 

Donna, whose daughter Imogen was diagnosed with a rare cancer at just 3, said: Petrol is something I would have spent £30 on maybe a month I now spend £50, 60, 70 every week. Then you think about the parking on top, average parking is about £9 a day and then sometimes we have to extend it. Then when you’re there it can be longer so you end up having to buy drinks and food that could be £40 in a day. It can definitely add up. 

“You go into panic mode thinking ‘how are we going to afford it? How are we going to do this?’. It would have been a lot harder because I wouldn’t know half of what I do now without the support of Young Lives vs Cancer.”  

Rachel Kirby-Rider added: “It is vital young cancer patients are kept warm, fed well, and can get to hospital. 

“If these young cancer patients and their families don’t receive the support of a Crisis Fund soon, the consequences could be devastating. Without help, so many will have to struggle through the winter months with no heating, won’t be able to make the journey for life-saving treatment and the threat of eviction will become very real for some.  

“We can’t let children and young people going through cancer already face these devastating realities. Our Crisis Fund is here to help those in the greatest need, and our social workers are here to listen, and support families emotionally through this crisis.”

About the fund

Until 30 June 2023, children’s families and young people who meet the eligibility criteria can get up to a £350 grant to help cover extra costs related to a cancer diagnosis. The Crisis Fund will be subject to a social work assessment of financial need. This is to ensure that the Crisis Fund gets to those who need it most, directly linked to cancer treatment and the cost of living.

Find out more about our Crisis Fund, including who may be eligible for a grant

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