Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer and one in two of us will be affected by it at some point in our lives. A diagnosis of cancer can be the most devastating experience which can bring added challenges to day to day life. A solid support network can be crucial during this difficult time because no one should face cancer alone.
When you are facing cancer, stress can build up and affect how you feel about life. Prolonged stress can lead to frustration, anger, hopelessness, and at times, depression. Therefore, the most important step you can take is to seek help as soon as you feel you are struggling to cope.
A recent report produced by Macmillan Cancer Support revealed that in addition to the physical and emotional turmoil experienced by cancer patients, tens of thousands of people are also suffering financially. The same report showed that 83% of people are financially worse off after their cancer diagnosis and the average impact is £570 a month due to unexpected extra expenditure, including hospital travel, parking costs and increased heating bills.
The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) knows how vital the support network can be to those who are dealing with a life-changing cancer diagnosis and this is why the Charity launched the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). EAP ensures that those experiencing difficulties during their cancer journey are getting the support they need by offering them a wide range of services including financial and emotional assistance.
Recently, through EAP, the Charity was able to support Scott, an experienced electrician from Scotland, during his cancer journey. In June 2018, Scott was diagnosed with neuroendocrine - an incurable and very rare form of cancer which affects the cells that release hormones into the bloodstream. He was referred to EIC by a Macmillan Welfare Advisor, after struggling financially during his chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.
Due to his illness, Scott had only expected to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), however, his employer stepped in during this challenging time and offered to pay Scott his basic salary for three months as well as giving him access to a company car. His employer was also a member of the Joint Industry Board (JIB) Scheme which meant that Scott was eligible for JIB financial assistance.
Despite this, as soon as the three months were up, Scott’s financial situation started to spiral out of control. Once Scott completed his chemotherapy and was due to begin radiotherapy treatment, he was no longer receiving his basic salary, and his only income was the funds received from JIB, which resulted in him struggling to pay his rent. To allow Scott to focus on his treatment, EIC offered him a £1,000 grant to help with his rent and arranged to continue reassessing his financial situation until he was able to return to work.
In January 2019, Scott applied for Universal Credit as he was no longer receiving SSP and was struggling to pay his bills ahead of his phased return to work in February 2019. EIC offered Scott a £250 grant to help with his day to day living costs during this period as it is often the final days before returning to employment that are the hardest ones. Scott is now back at work and has recovered well following his treatments.
Being told you have cancer can be a very stressful experience and can bring with it many challenges along the way. However, as an industry, we have the power to make a difference in our colleague’s and their family’s lives. By signing up to EIC’s Employee Assistance Programme today, you can help someone like Scott get the support they need as they continue the healing process and give them hope for the future.