This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Morrisons and CLIC Sargent are helping young people with cancer cope with the costs of cancer. As part of our partnership, we have given more than 3,000 families financial grants, meaning parents have one less thing to worry about. You can help us reach more families by buying a gold ribbon in store for a suggested donation of £1.
This September - Childhood Cancer Awareness Month - we're sharing Eliza's story to highlight how much help young people and their families need following a diagnosis, and how you can help children meet the hidden costs of cancer.
As soon as a child is diagnosed with cancer, the costs start to rack up. From day one, families face long and costly journeys for vital treatment, and they have no choice but to foot the bill. For many families, the cost of simply travelling to and from hospital – in some cases around £180 per month - can plunge them into debt.
The long cancer commute is all too familiar to little Eliza Deakin, 5, from Shipley in West Yorkshire. The youngster was diagnosed with a rare eye cancer - bilateral retinoblastoma – when she was just a few months old. Between February 2013 and May 2017, the longest Eliza was off treatment was 9 weeks and as she required specialist treatment in London, travel costs were a huge burden then, and the family still make the trip every three months for check-ups and scans.
Mum Lucy Deakin, a nurse, said: “Over the years we must have spent thousands and thousands on train tickets, and other extra expenses too. For example, Eliza often felt too sick to get on a bus after her chemo, so taxis were another extra cost we had to find the money for.
“Throughout Eliza’s treatment we had to travel to London at least once a month, but often more frequently, and the travel costs and also the childcare costs for our other three children were a constant worry.
“The cost of the train tickets varied a lot, if it was just me and Eliza we could sometimes get a £50 ticket in advance, or it was £100 if my husband came too. But sometimes if we had to go there at short notice, or if we weren’t sure when we’d be coming home, we would have to pay around £150 for an open return.
“Travel costs ate up our savings, and we had to use our credit card a lot. We had to learn to live differently, to cut back on things, and we would just about break even each month.
“But I feel sad that our other children have missed out on things because we just don’t have the money. We had to ask the children to cut down their clubs to save money It is gutting to spend hundreds a month on travel costs instead of your children or saving for their future, but you don’t have a choice when the treatment your child needs is over a 300 mile round-trip away”.