Being diagnosed with cancer can come as a huge shock to anyone and can bring confusion, anger and uncertainty which can be difficult to cope with financially emotionally and physically.
According to Cancer Research UK, each year, around 7,800 new cases of mouth and oropharyngeal cancer are diagnosed in the UK. Mouth and oropharyngeal cancer are more common in men than in women, affecting 1 in 75 men and 1 in 150 women at some point in their life.
Once a person is diagnosed with a terminal illness not only do they have to deal with the stress and upset it causes them and their family, it also brings with it a lot of uncertainty and anxiety in other parts of their life. In many cases, it becomes overwhelming, and it is difficult to know where to start or whom to turn to for help and support.
The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) understands how difficult cancer diagnosis can be. This is why EIC has teamed up with many UK charities to ensure that those who are going through a difficult cancer journey have a shoulder to lean on in their hour of need.
Recently EIC offered their support and gave independence to Howard Field, who was referred by Macmillan Cancer Support and struggled to cope following the devastating mouth and throat cancer diagnosis.
Howard developed cancer of the throat and mouth in 2014, which resulted in the removal of his teeth and the partial removal of his jaw and tongue. Since the life-changing diagnosis, he underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy and developed gout as a result of this treatment. A year later, cancer returned, and Howard underwent a further operation to remove more of his jaw. He has since been having MRI scans every six months to keep cancer at bay.
Due to his condition, Howard can only eat pureed food, and his cancer nurse specialist recommended he eats three meals a day from Wiltshire Farm Foods who provide nutritionally balanced food, which comes ready prepared. However, each meal costs £5, and he could only afford one per day and substituted the rest with a soup which was affecting his vital nutritional intake.
On top of his distressing illness, in 2017, Howard had an infestation of scabies mite in his rented apartment which resulted in him losing all of his belongings including bed, mattress and all of his clothing and left him sleeping on an airbed.
Howard contacted EIC for assistance to help him to improve his quality of life by replacing the essential items that were lost during infestation. He also applied for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to help with the daily living costs.
EIC supported Howard during this challenging time by offering to purchase his food and provided him with an initial grant of £1,000 for replacing the essential furniture and clothing. Additionally, EIC also partnered with Florence Nightingale Aid in Sickness Trust (FNAIST) who pledged £500 for Howard’s new bed, and the Independence at Home (IAH) charity offered a further £200 towards his bed linen.
Furthermore, the Electrical Industries Charity continues supporting Howard by providing him with a £35 per week to fund his Wiltshire Farm Foods as he is still struggling to secure his PIP income. The Charity is also working with Howard to help him return to work in an adjusted capacity, potentially as a driver for an electrical wholesaler or tutoring with JTL. Howard is excited by both prospects and is looking forward to creating a better quality of life for himself.
Life can change in a blink of an eye at the most unexpected time, which can turn our lives upside down and leave us with uncertainty for the future. During this time, the support from the industry can make a huge difference and give people within the electrical industry who are struggling to cope following their cancer diagnosis the independence they need to continue leading as normal a life as possible.
Alternatively, if you would like to show your support for a colleague who is struggling throughout their cancer journey, sign up to become a partner of EIC’ Employee Assistance Programme or take part in powerLottery by downloading the EIC’s powerLottery app and tap the app to play.