A young mum from Haslingden has spoken of her heartbreaking plight battling stage four cancer while facing skyrocketing costs.
Joanna Jonathan was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer three years ago, just six months after welcoming her first daughter, baby Freya. The 37-year-old was thrilled to give birth to her ‘miracle’ second daughter, Dylann, last September despite grueling treatment for ALK-positive lung cancer, a genetic condition that mainly affects young and middle-aged women. medium that are mild, or – as it is – non-smoking.
A self-described lung cancer warrior at the time, Joanna was thrilled with her “miracle baby” and said she was the only person in the country to give birth with stage four cancer. However, she has now fought back tears as she describes her grueling battle with cancer and realizing that ‘the clock is ticking’, while coping with the cost of living crisis.
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Speaking to Channel 4 News on April 28, a week away from her birthday, the mother of Freya, three, and Dylann, ten months, said her real fear was dying and not having lived. She said: “My real fear is of dying, of not having really lived.
“I feel like I barely exist right now. When you become a mom, you want to give everything for your children, and especially now at a time when I am well aware that time is running out.”
Adding to how lucky she would be to live another two years, the young mum said she wanted to create memories for her children. But instead, the family was faced with a choice between heating and food.
She said: “If I do another two years, I will be very lucky… Chances are they’ll just have pictures, and I want them to have some really epic memories and if we can’t even afford it, and if we have to choose between eating and eating, and not vacations and days out are heartbreaking.
Highlighting the harsh realities of exorbitant fuel costs to even get to the hospital, she added: “I know everyone has been affected by the cost but we have so many extra costs, the trip to the hospital – I’m lucky to have ‘I’m under a very good cancer center in Manchester, but it’s an extra 40 miles round trip from my house and trying to find this *in money with the prices of l gasoline right now is just worrying.
Joanna was forced to give up her job after her diagnosis and her husband, Daniel, whom she married in a Covid-secure ceremony in November 2020, was made redundant during the pandemic. Having to survive on universal credit and disability benefits, the family faces energy bills that have tripled and food bills that have doubled, meaning Daniel is considering returning to work.
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He told Channel 4 News: ‘I really don’t want to because anything can happen at home at any time. Joanna explained: “I can be fine for a minute, then the infection will hit, and knowing I’ll be alone with one or both kids….”
Cancer charity Macmillan said the number of people needing help with their heating bills rose by 58% in the first three months of this year, compared to the same time last year latest. Meanwhile, cancer experts are calling on the government to offer more specialist help as the fight against the cost of living crisis hurts people with serious illness.
NHS oncologist and Macmillan adviser Dr Richard Simcock told Channel 4 how he had patients who worked in physically demanding jobs despite the ordeal of chemotherapy – and that a balanced diet, warmth and good hygiene were vital.
He said: ”Government statistics suggest an average of 22 weeks for people to receive their first payment and that’s far, far too long in our opinion.
Holding back tears, Joanna added, “It hits me sometimes, how did this become my life? How did we come here? Daniel and I have always worked; you don’t have a family or you go into having a house and a marriage and stuff thinking that you’ll end up not being able to do the things that you set out to do.
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions told LancsLive: ‘We know that living with a long-term illness or disability can impact the cost of living and there is financial support available for people with disabilities. or those who take care of it. We urge people to check if they are receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled and to be aware of the wider support this opens up, including help with transport, broadband or prescription costs.
“In addition, the government is taking decisive action to help more than 27 million households cope with rising energy costs, with a £200 cut on bills this autumn, a non-refundable cut of £150 on council tax bills and our £1billion household aid. The fund helps the most vulnerable with essential costs.