Cancer patients' families 'driven into debt'

Published Monday, 05 December 2011
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Parents of children with cancer in Northern Ireland face financial pressures during treatment, according to a report carried out by a cancer charity.

Two-thirds of parents surveyed say they have been forced to borrow money to make ends meet.

Over 75% of those questioned said extra costs were having a major impact on family finances.

The report was carried out by children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

Michael Ross Swain, 18 and from Ballykelly, Co Londonderry was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in November 2010.

His parents, who were both out of work before his diagnosis, were forced to borrow money from family to make ends meet.

"I've lost track of the amount of extra money we have needed," his mother Mary said.

"When we first arrived at the hospital, everything was so overwhelming."

"Then this face appeared in the doorway, it was Laurena, our CLIC Sargent Social Worker. She was like an angel and we would have been lost without her," she added.

"The prospect of lengthy treatment and the extra financial burden was overwhelming."

Cecilia Milburn, partnership manager at CLIC Sargent in Northern Ireland, said everyone is suffering in this economic climate but parents of children with cancer are amongst the hardest hit.

"It's shocking to hear that some families felt driven to debt in order to get through financially," she added.

© UTV News
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