Any cancer diagnosis is incredibly difficult to hear, a truly life changing moment for both the individual diagnosed and their family, but for those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer it is often worse than for most.
Pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed very late because there are not yet any early tests for it and the symptoms are easily confused with the effects of aging or any number of other far less serious conditions. By the time pancreatic cancer is diagnosed the average prognosis is just 6 months, meaning that half of people diagnosed are told that they have less than 6 months left to live.
The impact of pancreatic cancer on the individual affected and the family is hard to explain or understand. For anyone who has had a similar diagnosis or had a family member affected, no explanation is necessary. For those who haven’t no explanation will ever be truly sufficient to explain the feelings you go through.
The financial impact of cancer is however far easier to understand, Macmillan cancer support published a report a few years ago identifying that 80% of cancer patients (across all cancers) are £500 per month worse off as a result of the disease. If you haven’t been in that situation you can only really imagine the impact of learning you have months left to live and suddenly realising your family will be financially worse off as a result.
This is the point at which the Trust steps in to help these families. We are a pure support charity, we don’t fund research and only focus on supporting those directly affected by the disease in an immediate way.
The concerns and worries of the people who we support vary but most of them are what you yourself might feel in the circumstances. Usually we are supporting parents trying to limit the impact of the disease on their children and partners trying to limit the impact on the person who they have chosen to share their life with. For many of the people we support their concerns are the absolute basics of life, for many others their concern isn’t for themselves, but ensuring their family is taken care of after they are gone.
We receive no government or other funding and all of the funds we use to support our beneficiaries come directly from people such as yourselves who give generously.
If you know somebody who we might be able to help please visit: www.operationhenry.org and click “Request Help”.
Any donation you can give can make a real difference to families suffering from this devastating and shocking disease, if you can consider giving a regular donation then it will really allow us to plan for the future and help even more families.
– Written by Sam Foley, Charity Manager
The support we provide varies a great deal depending upon the needs of the people we are helping, the Trust focuses on a truly holistic approach to supporting our beneficiaries, we believe that an improvement in the patient’s mood and quality of life is best achieved by allowing the patient to choose the things that are most important to them.
For most of our beneficiaries forced bed rest and increased sensitivity to the cold after chemotherapy lead to having increased heating costs, the Trust regularly helps beneficiaries with payments towards heating bills allowing them the simple dignity of staying comfortable in their own homes.
The forced bedrest following chemotherapy often leads people to realise that their mattresses and bedding are not up to the job of keeping them comfortable when they are spending whole days in bed. We often purchase new mattresses for our beneficiaries to ensure that they can be as comfortable as possible.
Because of the financial hardships brought about by their cancer many of our beneficiaries are unable to make necessary purchases around the house. This has included people being unable to replace broken cookers and fridge freezers leading them to go without until the Trust has been able to step in and buy them replacements.
Transport is incredibly important for our beneficiaries, whether to and from the hospital for appointments, to the shops for food or for family members to come and visit it is easy to take for granted the simple ability to get from A to B. For our beneficiaries the transport support we can provide can be the difference between a straightforward taxi ride to chemotherapy or several hours on the bus, or the difference between family being able to visit.