Gary on family

Gary in hospital using his walking stick and using his phone
Gary in hospital using his walking stick and using his phone

Following his diagnosis of both leukaemia and kidney cancer, Gary worried about the emotional impact on his children, and the financial strain his family was facing. He turned to Macmillan for help with claiming benefits.

Gary's story

Once I stopped worrying about myself, the practicalities sank in. What’s my family going to do? What will I do about work? Who’ll pay the mortgage? You begin to realise cancer affects every aspect of your life, in all sorts of ways.

I lost my father to cancer when I was 12, so I could see what my kids were going through. Particularly my youngest son who was 13 at the time. He felt the need to stay with me and be supportive, but I wanted to say to him, ‘Go out and be a child!’. Because I know how a parent’s illness can almost take a kid’s childhood away.

For me, the financial worries are a big concern. In many ways, it’s almost easier to come to terms with the diagnosis. Even though my kids are pretty much grown up, I worry what will happen to them and my wife if I’m not here. Sometimes it’s very hard to keep a lid on all the stress.

There were an awful lot of concerns about how the family would cope financially. I’d been offered medical retirement, which I accepted, but I had a pretty small pension. Macmillan was there with advice on completing forms for benefits.

Watch: all about Gary's experiences

Watch: all about Gary's experiences