As part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, here’s a story about Sam - the budding 13 year old artist behind our wonderful new social media header - and why helping children and young people cope with the hidden costs of cancer is so important to CLIC Sargent...
Sam was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January 2017 after being taken to the GP with suspected anemia. The GP sent him to York Hospital and he was diagnosed with cancer the same day.
“We just couldn’t believe it” said Emma. “Sam just burst into tears. We had been laughing and joking thinking it wasn’t anything serious.”
Hidden costs: CLIC Sargent provided a £170 grant for Sam – given to all families immediately after diagnosis – to help with immediate costs like petrol and hospital parking. Sam's design was inspired by the reality of travelling long distances for treatment.
Sam's gold ribbon artwork - designed to help raise childhood cancer awareness this September.
Sam was sent to Leeds General Infirmary where he spent five weeks having intensive treatment including steroids and chemotherapy, lumbar punctures and blood transfusions.
“It was one thing after another” added Emma. “You lose all control. Sam was constantly taking different medications and you can’t leave hospital. It is very hard for a 12-year-old boy to be confined to a hospital. You don’t want somebody putting a needle in your spine and making you take tablets three times a day. He knew he had to do it and he felt like he should be brave – but that is asking a lot of a 12-year-old boy every day.”
Sam finished intensive chemotherapy in August 2017, and is now in the maintenance phase of treatment to keep the cancer at bay. Although he is cancer-free, his treatment still leaves him very weak and at times immobile.
Read how Sam gave us his first social media makeover for World Cancer Day in February 2018
“The hardest thing has been the fact that he has lost contact with his friends. When he does go out with them he can’t keep up. It has been very isolating for him. And for me. I had to take a long time off work. I am Sam’s only carer. We are in the house together 24/7.”
But CLIC Sargent has been there to help the family with the emotional, practical and financial impacts of Sam’s cancer diagnosis. They provided a £170 grant – given to all families immediately after diagnosis – to help with immediate costs like petrol and hospital parking. Their CLIC Sargent social worker was also on hand to help them apply for benefits and other extras, like a new bike for Sam and a vacuum when theirs broke. He regularly visits Emma and Sam at home, or in hospital, to offer emotional and practical advice and answer questions.
Emma said: “I have had to take leave from my job to look after Sam, so that has meant we struggle financially. But CLIC Sargent support means we have been able to access grants that we wouldn’t have known about. Our social worker filled in our Disability Living Allowance form, which made a huge difference to us because it is quite distressing to fill in. That money is invaluable to us.
“The little things like that make all the difference. CLIC Sargent has been such a big part of Sam’s care that we are just so grateful. It is really, really invaluable support. It makes such a massive difference when you are on this terrible ride that you can’t get off, to have CLIC Sargent supporting you and helping.”
For more information on CLIC Sargent, the partnership with Morrisons and how you can get involved, please visit www.clicsargent.org.uk/Morrisons
This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Morrisons and CLIC Sargent are helping young people with cancer cope with the costs of cancer. This September, we’re selling special gold pin badges in store to raise vital money for the families CLIC Sargent helps for a suggested donation of £1.
You can also show your support in your shopping basket by purchasing special ‘Every Pack Gives Back’ products. For a limited time only, select products from some of the biggest brands will make a donation to CLIC Sargent for each item sold. Look out for the Every Pack Gives back logo next to the special products when shopping online or visit the designated page on our grocery website where you can also make a donation to CLIC Sargent.
There’s lots going on during CCAM so keep an eye out for gold-themed fundraising in your local store and find out more about cancer costs and the families it affects by following along on CLIC Sargent’s social media.