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Barnstaple cancer sufferer talks about MacMillan charity which helped pay her heating bills

By NDJFran  |  Posted: January 27, 2014

Linda Ridden with dog Chianna

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A CANCER sufferer is urging people to find out if they are eligible for a grant to help them with costs related to their treatment.

Linda Ridden, of Orchard Road in Barnstaple, was diagnosed with breast cancer in July last year and had to undergo an operation and a course of radiotherapy.

As a side effect of her treatment, Linda began to feel the cold a lot more and began worrying about putting her heating on during the day.

But after being referred to Macmillan Cancer Support she received a £200 grant to help towards her energy costs.

Linda has since been given the all clear, but said a huge weight was lifted from her shoulders when she received the money.

“When I was diagnosed with cancer it was devastating,” she said. “I was in total shock.”

Linda had her operation in October before starting radiotherapy in November.

“I have never experienced tiredness like it,” she said of the treatment. “It is like I would hit a brick wall. I would do something you would normally do but this fatigue just comes over you.

“I have never been a person to feel the cold, but apparently it can be one of the side effects of the radiotherapy because it kills off millions of your cells.

“I was feeling really cold. Normally I was at work so would not have the heating on during the day.”

Linda said her fingers would often go blue and she began wearing thermals and using hot water bottles but was worried about the cost of putting her heating on.

She was put in touch with Ros Thomas, a Macmillan welfare benefits outreach caseworker at the Torridge, North, Mid and West Devon Citizens Advice Bureau, who helped Linda complete a form in order to receive a grant.

“She just literally took everything off my shoulders,” said Linda. “She did the whole thing. When I got the cheque through I cried. I had been thinking, how am I going to pay these bills?”

Linda said Macmillan had always been a charity close to her heart since she witnessed nurses treating a neighbour when she was eight years old.

She said: “I never thought I would need the charity myself.”

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