This World Cancer Day, on Sunday 4th February, Morrisons wants to help CLIC Sargent give more families access to their services. Here’s a story about Sam - the young artist behind our World Cancer Day social media artwork - just one of the reasons why ‘banding together’ is so important for young people with cancer...
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.”
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.
“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