This is a special guest article from our friends at the Eleanor Rose Foundation, established in 2012 in memory of Ellie Jeffery, who died of breast cancer aged 29. The MoneyAware team have been sponsoring her friends this month, in a concerted effort to raise money and awareness for the charity.
Ellie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and the following year she discovered that the cancer had spread to her lungs, liver and bones.
During this time Ellie began to write a blog called ‘Written Off’, which quickly gained a large following thanks to her frank, funny and deeply affecting descriptions of her life with cancer.
Her blog even featured in various newspapers and magazines.
Whilst Ellie was undergoing treatment she occasionally enjoyed ‘pampering sessions’ at the brilliant cancer charity Maggie’s, which took place at their London centre in Hammersmith. This gave Ellie a welcome respite, but as it entailed a 40-minute journey from Brixton she wasn’t able to take advantage of it as frequently as she otherwise might have.
She also enjoyed acupuncture, yoga and meditation, all of which had both mental and physical benefits, but she often didn’t feel up to travelling any significant distance to attend such sessions.
Eleanor Rose Foundation
This year the Eleanor Rose Foundation is launching its main initiative ‘Ellie’s Friends’, which will enable adults living with cancer to access free and discounted services or products in their area and give them the opportunity to enjoy life’s little pleasures that are often taken for granted.
A large proportion of people living with cancer find themselves unable to work during treatment and the loss of income frequently means a drop in living standards at a time when people are already finding life hard enough as it is.
The cost of cancer
A 2013 Macmillan study called ‘Cancer’s hidden price tag’ concluded that four out five cancer patients are hit by the financial cost of cancer, which averages at around £570 a month for those affected – comparable to the monthly cost of a mortgage. This includes increased heating and water bills, travel costs to and from hospital, and change in dietary or clothing requirements.
Additionally, roughly 30% of people living with cancer experienced a loss of income after being diagnosed with the disease. On average someone with cancer and of working age has a loss of £860 a month, and 33% of adults affected by cancer stop working either permanently or temporarily.
A report this year produced by Shine Cancer Support found that 44% of respondents, all of working age, had experienced financial difficulties as a result of cancer treatment or its late effects, and a quarter of respondents were in more than £10,000 pounds worth of debt.
Ellie’s Friends service
We hope that making use of the services offered via Ellie’s Friends will give people the opportunity to enjoy some of the treats they might otherwise be denied through financial difficulties.
These pick-me-ups could be absolutely anything, from massages to manicures, tickets to entertainment events or the use of holiday homes. Anyone who would like to offer something to people with cancer will be able to do so through Ellie’s Friends. We are currently developing the Ellie’s Friends website which we plan to launch in January 2014.
Equally importantly, the Ellie’s Friends website will also link people with cancer to UK-wide services and beneficial offers supplied by other charities and organisations such as StepChange Debt Charity.
Please visit the Eleanor Rose Foundation website to read more about the foundation and please follow us on Facebook and twitter for updates on Ellie’s Friends. And if you have something to offer people living with cancer get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and help us make the big C smaller.