Brain Tumour Support, which has been supporting brain tumour patients and families across the UK for 17 years, has today launched an urgent appeal to ensure its survival.
The charity has had to furlough the majority of its staff and suspend much of its service across the country. It now faces the prospect of leaving hundreds of vulnerable people without support if vital funds are not raised in the next two months.
“It breaks my heart to know that there are patients and families out there that need our help but we do not have resources to support them,” said Tina Mitchell Skinner who founded the charity 17 years ago after losing her husband to a brain tumour. “Brain Tumour Support has grown every year to help more people. We had exciting plans to further extend our support services and then the pandemic hit. This also coincided with funding from Macmillan England coming to an end, so for us it was a double blow. We rely solely on voluntary donations and have an amazing army of fundraisers, but most of the events and activities they were planning have had to be cancelled or postponed, so our income has plummeted.”
This decrease in income also comes at a time when Brain Tumour Support has seen a huge increase in demand for its services. The lockdown has not only increased isolation for brain tumour patients, it has also delayed many people receiving diagnoses or treatment. This means the charity is expecting an even larger increase in demand for its services once lockdown measures are eased. Coming to terms with a brain tumour diagnosis is a worrying and difficult time under any circumstances, but coping with the symptoms, treatments, the physical and emotional impact whilst also dealing with a pandemic is a terrifying experience for both patients and their loved ones.
Brain Tumour Support has adapted its services to try and help as many people as possible, but many vital aspects of its work have had to be put on hold. It now offers a limited number of video chats instead of support groups and has managed to keep its telephone support line and on-line support forum open for the time being. But in order to survive and bring back its support services to the level they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, it urgently needs donations from individuals, organisations and companies.
“We are currently working with over 1,500 patients and carers requiring critical and intensive support with many more waiting for help,” said Mrs Mitchell Skinner. “As well as patients who need our help, many NHS staff are also supported by us, as we provide a service that they simply do not have the resources to provide. We know these are challenging times for many people, but we are calling on you to consider making a donation, however much you can afford. Supporting us with a donation now, more than ever, will enable us to navigate through this devastating period so that we can survive, and continue to provide our crucial services now, and in the future.”
People supported by the charity include Richard, who says Brain Tumour Support saved his life; Jane, who says the charity gave her her life back; Sammie and her children who received bereavement counselling and say that ‘thank you’ will never seem enough; and Chris who says he doesn’t feel so isolated in his condition any more.
Can you help Brain Tumour Support be there for more people like Richard, Jane, Sammie and Chris? To find out how you can get involved or to make a donation to the Together We Are Stronger Appeal please go to www.braintumoursupport.co.uk/appeal