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Jerry Dawson

Macmillan Cancer Support: “We do whatever it takes to help people with cancer”

22 July 2021

Jerry Dawson was diagnosed with cancer in December 2020. He shares the emotional and financial difficulties he faced going through treatment during the pandemic – and how he was helped “just in the nick of time” by a grant from Macmillan Cancer Support, a UK charity supported by Barclays.

In late 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jerry Dawson was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

On top of the trauma of the diagnosis, Dawson found himself isolated from friends and family as he shielded at home in Sandwell, UK. “It was really emotionally draining, facing my diagnosis during this time,” he says, “especially having to go through my surgery, treatment and cancer journey for the most part alone. Without the specialist cancer nurses on hand to reassure me, I don’t know how I would have coped.”

On top of the trauma of the diagnosis, Dawson found himself isolated from friends and family as he shielded at home in Sandwell, UK. “It was really emotionally draining, facing my diagnosis during this time,” he says, “especially having to go through my surgery, treatment and cancer journey for the most part alone. Without the specialist cancer nurses on hand to reassure me, I don’t know how I would have coped.”

But the worry and isolation weren’t the only things the care manager and former professional dancer had to cope with. As the UK entered its third lockdown, Dawson was about to undergo chemotherapy treatment and found himself facing financial worries on top of everything else. “I’d had a cut in my wages from work and I was worried about how I would pay my bills,” he explains.

“Luckily,” says Dawson, “and in the nick of time, I was awarded a grant by Macmillan Cancer Support.” This one-off payment from the charity “really helped free my mind of those worries and helped me to focus on the chemotherapy journey ahead”.

Macmillan is one of hundreds of organisations around the world backed by Barclays’ £100m COVID-19 Community Aid Package, which aims to bring critical support to those who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

According to the charity, four in five people living with cancer become more financially worse off following a diagnosis – and the pandemic has made the situation worse, with many people losing their jobs, facing a pay cut or being unable to work for health reasons.

Thanks to Barclays’ support, Macmillan has been able to help 497 people living with cancer to access urgent funds and recruit 10 additional Welfare Rights Advisers, who help people affected by cancer to navigate the benefits and grants available to them. And in a six-month period, Macmillan’s Advisers have unlocked over £8m in benefits and answered more than 3,000 calls.

REbecca Stead, Macmillan Service Knowledge Specialist

The pandemic has created devastating disruption across cancer services, leaving many people struggling to get the support they need.

Rebecca Stead

Service Knowledge Specialist at Macmillan

For Dawson, Macmillan’s support has helped ease some of the pressures he was facing – and has inspired him to give back to others going through a similar experience.

With the cancer now in remission, he wants to start a support group in his local community “to encourage conversations with people dealing with diagnosis and living with cancer”.

“Cancer has had an impact throughout my life,” he continues. “I lost my big brother to childhood cancer when we were both very young, and I’m very passionate about supporting others.

“Macmillan was there for me in my time of need. They had advice and support, which was a great source of comfort. I urge men of all ages to check themselves on a regular basis – and please don’t be afraid to seek medical help if you’re worried.”

Jerry Dawson

Macmillan was there for me in my time of need. They had advice and support, which was a great source of comfort.

Jerry Dawson

Barclays’ £100m COVID-19 Community Aid Package: the story so far

To date, Barclays has supported more than 290 charities around the world delivering vital COVID-19 relief. Read about the positive difference these charity partnerships are making to communities impacted by the pandemic in a newly published COVID-19 Community Aid Package Impact Report.