‘I can now put heating on’ says Ramsgate cancer survivor after receiving Macmillan grant

Chris O’Connell has received a Macmillan grant

A Ramsgate man who was diagnosed with lung cancer last year says he is now able to put his heating on, thanks to a grant from Macmillan Cancer Support.

Chris O’Connell was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2021 and had one-third of his lung removed in January this year.

Chris’ diagnosis sent him into a deep depression, and he had to borrow money from his friends to buy pyjamas for his two-week hospital stay. The 64-year-old was awarded with a Macmillan Grant to pay for travel expenses to the hospital and heating and says the grant provided a lifeline.

Chris said: “I suffer from severe depression and anxiety. The cancer diagnosis sent me into a deep depression, but I am grateful for the support of my friends Pete and Pam who have been with me all the way. They lent me the money for the pyjamas and a dressing gown and drove me to Canterbury hospital and picked me up.

“I only agreed to accept their help on the understanding that I would pay them back for the petrol. I didn’t feel as if I could look them in the eye as I owed them so much so will be pleased to pay back the money. The remainder will go on heating bills which will hopefully stretch a bit further now that spring has arrived.

“My Macmillan grant was an absolute relief and is paid directly into your bank account which really helps. It has given me my positivity back. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and feel like I have a new lease of life following the surgery.

“I can now look my friends in the eye. It has really helped my recovery and I would not have thought of applying for it had it not been for my Macmillan nurse.  The wonderful Macmillan people told me about it and put me in touch with all the right people. I can now put the heating on.”

A cancer diagnosis often brings increased and unexpected living costs, such as requiring wigs or post-surgery clothing, a new bed for someone who can no longer climb the stairs to their bedroom, or fresh bedding for those experiencing incontinence and other treatment side-effects.

Many cancer patients on low-incomes struggle with the financial fallout of a diagnosis, compounded by the current cost of living crisis and Covid-19, so Macmillan is urging anyone in need to seek their support.

Over £240,000 in Macmillan Grants helped 669 people with cancer in Kent like Chris, pay for essentials such as heating bills and hospital transport costs, after they were diagnosed with cancer or underwent cancer treatment.

One of the biggest expenses facing people with cancer is higher energy bills. Many people undergoing cancer treatment need to have the heating on for longer periods due to the side-effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

With domestic energy prices rising by as much as 50% in April, and further increases expected in October when the energy price cap is raised again, this year could present a triple threat for people with cancer, who are already struggling with the financial impact of their diagnosis and the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In recognition of the extraordinary challenges facing cancer patients in 2022, Macmillan has made an extra £3.5 million of emergency funds available to help pay escalating fuel bills. In the first six weeks of 2022, Macmillan has given out over £1.6 million in grants to support vulnerable patients across the UK – an increase of 33% on the same time last year.

Tom Carter, Macmillan Strategic Partnership Manager in the South East, said:“It’s been an incredibly tough few years for people with cancer. Covid-19 continues to cause great challenges for the clinically vulnerable and now cancer patients are having to contend with a cost of living crisis that has seen prices for fuel and food rocket.

“Macmillan is here for everyone with cancer. But we know there are always more people that we could be helping. So, if you are someone in need of our support, we will do everything we can to ensure you get the practical advice and help that can make life with cancer not simply about survival.”

About the grants and how to get one

Macmillan grants are a one-off, means tested payment of £350 to help with the extra costs that living with cancer can bring. Anyone over 18, who has been diagnosed with cancer or undergoing treatment can apply.

To find out more about Macmillan grants, including who can apply, call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (open seven days a week, 8am to 8pm) and talk to the Macmillan Welfare Rights Team.

Or, speak to your Macmillan nurse, or other healthcare professional, who can help you apply for a Macmillan grant.

Further information can also be found at https://www.macmillan.org.uk


  1. What a shame this poor man has had to rely on a Macmillan charity to help him to get his heating back on.
    Tory Britain for you the “I’m alright jack society” .

    • Itll be the same under any government unfortunately.

      Every single one of them will look after their mates first, so dont let the spin fool you!

      • The current people in power are the worst we have ever had in the history of this country. They are a bunch of entitled, arrogant, lying, out of touch Eton brats, that think they are in some rich boys game.

        The reality is, is that they are wrecking people’s lives and the country with it. They could not care one bit for anyone but themselves and there rich boy club members.

        • If, as you imply, Labour are so good and Conservatives are so bad – why did Labour ever get voted out of power ? ? ?

          As far as I am concerned, they are all as bad as each other. Whoever is in power gets the blame for something or the other . . . until such time that sufficient of the electorate gets fed up and votes accordingly – and so it continues.

          • I am in no way implying Labour are so good. I am saying the current government are the worst group of people we have ever had run this country.

            The PM is a serial liar and treats the general public as cannon fodder and he feels that he is above the rules of the country he is meant to be running. That is a dangerous situation. The people in his cabinet also think the same, hence why this is just a rich Eton boys club for them.

          • No just telling the truth, you are obviously so clueless you are like a turkey that votes for Christmas. Go back to being a pervy old man like you normally are.

          • “The truth” that how wealthy and how they were educated matters? Your’re as bigoted as those who wouldn’t vote for someone who was raised on a council estate and went to a comprehensive school. I personally just people on their politics, not their background.

            Oh….. and less of the “old”!

  2. This country needs to look after it’s own before sending millions of to other countries!

    Another 300million to Ukraine yet people in this country need help first and foremost!

  3. i just hope people read and remember this sad story next time they go to vote. there has never been a goverment that is so out of touch with the man in the street!

      • What about the great Tony Blair, educated at one of the most exclusive schools in Edinburgh, Fettes College, fees a couple of thousand a year less than Eton or Sir Keir Starmer. He did not go to the local comprehensive, Reigate Grammar for him and then Oxford University.
        So think again about knocking the Conservatives, calling them rich and looking after their friends.
        The same happens in all parties and for the record, there is no greater liar than Tony Blair who took us to war on a pack of lies.
        I also think your reply to Peter Checksfield is unbelievably rude.

          • Too true!

            It costs nothing to respect each other, well that is what I was taught by my parents and school.

            This article is about the plight of Chris and hijacked by Labour supporters with all their vitriol.

            I wish Chris well and his lovely kind friends.

          • And you think that referring to people having a viewpoint different from yours as “the loony left” contributes to the debate?
            I note that it was support from a charity, not the government, that has made the OP’s position at bit more tolerable.

  4. What is wrong with everyone and their comments? Is no-one grateful that we are not at war and that we have so much compared to all those suffering in Ukraine, Syria and other countries? And the current problem with heating costs cannot be blamed on the government. Costs are increasing throughout all of Europe due to the Ukraine war. Does everyone shut they ears and eyes to world news and just live in their own little world here in Thanet and make such inane comments in response to these articles by Kathy?

    I am not saying we don’t have problems in this country as there are plenty but for goodness sake, whatever party is in power, there are always problems – no-one seems capable of sorting them out. We have become a very cheap society – everyone wants more – more spent on the NHS, better schools, repairs on roads etc etc – the list is endless. But who pays for all of this? The Treasury and where does that money come from? Taxation – be it income tax, VAT, property taxes, road taxes etc. but very few want an increase in their taxation to pay for any of the services they want improved.

    Chris – I wish you a speedy recovery and I am delighted you have received the MacMillan grant. And from someone who has been through cancer and could not work for two years, please learn to accept the kind offers from friends as I am sure they really do want to help you through your difficult times as I am sure you would them.

    • We’ll said. The cost increases that we are seeing are echoed all around the world and have nothing to do with the government. Every country is struggling with high inflation. We are no worse off than any other European country. Even if Labour or the Greens were in power the Country would still be facing the same levels of inflation and costs would still be rising.

      • The UK has a gas and oil industry. But it is a private enterprise. So our gas and our oil is being extracted from our sea bed .. and sold off to the highest bidder. Which isn’t the UK.
        If the fossil fuel industry were to be nationalised, then we could benefit from our hydrocarbon fuels at rock-bottom prices. Instead, the pockets of foreign hedge fund investors are filled.

  5. I agree with everything that Jane has said also Concerned.
    The same people jump on anything to blame this Government for everything.
    We are so lucky in this country to have McMillan.
    I too wish Chris well for the future.

    • This government has been in power for over a decade. It is most emphatically at their feet that any blame should be laid.
      The government could have got going with nuclear power ages ago. But they shillied and shallied with China (really?) and France about who would pay for construction, how much the UK would pay for the electricity generated and so on. So here we are, an energy crisis, and no additional nuclear capacity.
      We import a vast amount of gas, in the form of Liquified Petroleum Gas. There are storage facilities. But rather than building additional storage, to hedge against supply issues, the government has been taking storage of LPG out of commission.
      True, the government can’t control world prices for fuel. But it could have done much more to mitigate against these inevitable crises, but it didn’t.
      So, yes, I blame our government for the huge spike in energy Bill’s coming our way.
      Rises that will affect the poor far more than the rich.

Comments are closed.