Pandemic brings added uncertainty to cancer sufferers and families

Amy Hebdon is the fundraising manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Rotherham. Each month she updates The Rotherham Advertiser readers on the latest stories and developments by supporters across the town.

I WOULD usually start the January column wishing everyone a happy new year but I appreciate it’s not quite the start we’d wish for. I would like to take this opportunity to send everyone our best wishes.

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a traumatic and frightening experience at any time, and the coronavirus pandemic is only bringing added worry and uncertainty. Some people are seeing their treatment changed, postponed or even cancelled, and may be upset, scared and lonely.

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With the need for trusted information and support greater than ever, the Macmillan Support Line — open from 8am to 8pm, 365 days a year — is providing a lifeline right now to people with concerns about cancer and coronavirus. People are contacting us with worries about finances, clinical questions, and some highly emotional calls as they cope with the impact of the crisis.

During the first lockdown back in March last year our support line teams, mostly based in Shipley, quickly set themselves up to support people from home. Like many of us the Macmillan team have been continuing this vital service without interruption from kitchen tables and sofas across Yorkshire.

Our Macmillan professionals have gone from receiving general calls around coronavirus, to calls about the impact on treatment, to sad, emotional calls about people dying in intensive care on their own and families having to arrange virtual funerals.

We have seen a huge increase in calls to the Macmillan Support Line since the coronavirus crisis began, with our Cancer Information Nurse Specialist team answering almost 4,500 calls in March alone. It costs around £138,000 to fund the Cancer Information Nurse Specialist team on the support line for one month, during which time they will respond to thousands of calls from people who are worried about cancer, need urgent information and support, and may not have anywhere else to turn to for help.

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Macmillan have launched an appeal in Yorkshire, we want to be there for every person diagnosed with cancer in the region, every donation received will stay in Yorkshire and give vital support to those who need it.  At this time your support has never mattered more, to find out more and make a donation please visit,

As our challenges continue into this new year, rest assured through this latest lockdown our Macmillan Professionals are still here to help in Rotherham.

If you have questions about coronavirus, we have coronavirus guidance to support you.

You can call the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service in Rotherham on 01709 427655 Monday-Thursday from 10am to 4pm and Friday from 10am to 12pm or the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 239 06 25, seven days a week, 8am-8pm or visit