Terminally-ill mum tells how charity stepped in when her children were cold and hungry

HELPING HAND – Sharon Phillips and her children Ryu (back left) and Isobel (back right) with Jessica, nine (front left) and Abigail, eight (front right) are urging people to support Dorset Cancer Care Foundation which has helped them meet the financial pressures of cancer.

A single mum-of-four with a terminal brain tumour has told how a local cancer charity stepped in when she and her children had no money to pay for heating or food.

Sharon Phillips, 41, of Moorside Road, in West Howe, Bournemouth, was diagnosed with an inoperable Myoma last May after suffering a seizure following routine surgery.

She said: “When the doctor told me I had a brain tumour my world just stopped.

“He then said that removing it could cause a stroke or even paralysis.

“I had six months of chemotherapy which shrank it a little but there’s no way to remove it.”

Following chemotherapy Sharon was unable to work and had to give up her part time, bar cleaning job.

She said: “I felt useless and unable to care for my children properly for the first time ever.

“The tumour has affected my short term memory and all the different paperwork to qualify for benefits left me confused and tearful.

“Things I thought I had filled in, hadn’t been done. I lost track and had to start again and I also got into debt.

“For a time, my two older children, (17-year-old twins Isobel and Ryu) were helped by friends and family to look after both me and my two younger daughters Jessica and Abigail.”

Just before Christmas a friend suggested Sharon contact Dorset Cancer Care Foundation (DCCF).

DCCF was set up in Poole in 2012 to help cancer patients living in the county.

The charity and its supporters hold events to fund grants to help families meet the cost of everything from transport to and from hospital, to household bills and much needed short breaks.

Sharon said: “I applied on the DCCF website and the charity responded immediately. Once they had verification of my situation from my GP they gave me vouchers for food. I was dumbfounded but so grateful.

“Then, during the recent cold snap we found ourselves with no money to pay for heating and food. The children were sitting in their beds wearing their coats and as many blankets as we could find.

“I was at my wits end. But once more the DCCF came to our rescue. We can’t thank them enough.”

She continued: “It’s just amazing to know that people here in Dorset are raising money to help those who are facing their darkest days.

“My children’s schools – Bourne Academy and Heathlands also came around and delivered some Christmas presents for the kids, which moved us all to tears.

“I’m still struggling with coming to terms that there’s nothing I can do to get rid of my tumour and that it could take me away from my children at any time.

“But I will be doing what I can to support the charity, so I can help other families facing what we have been through. And I hope anyone reading this story will consider donating or helping in some way too. This charity is literally a life saver.”

Eve Went, one of the founders of DCCF said: “People in Dorset are battling cancer every day.

“Sadly, many of them are also battling financial pressures caused by being unable to work or having to wait to be assessed for government help.

“DCCF is a small charity which prides itself on being easily accessed and there when people need us – Often within days of applying for help.

“In April last year we received three grant applications. This April we received 16.

“We would ask any Dorset residents facing financial hardship because of cancer to ask their GP surgery to refer them to use via our website at www.dccf.co.uk

“We would also love to hear from individuals interested in fundraising for us in their own Dorset communities, and companies and schools which would also encourage supporting us during 2018.

“Every penny we raise goes directly to help people who live near you – like Sharon Phillips and her children.”

Ends

Picture caption:  Sharon Phillips and her children Ryu (back left) and Isobel (back right) with Jessica, nine (front left) and Abigail, eight (front right) are urging people to support  Dorset Cancer Care Foundation which has helped them meet the financial pressures of cancer.

Media information: Debbie Granville at Deep South Media on 07884 657782 or email: Debbie.granville@deepsouthmedia.co.uk