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Mum surprises cancer support staff with a festive thank you for ‘saving her children’s Christmas’

A Barry-based Mum surprised the cancer support staff who supported them during Christmas with a festive thank you, and the moving moment was captured on camera.

With the help of Macmillan Cancer Support, Bethan Close arranged to drop in a thank you gift to unsuspecting Macmillan Information and Support Facilitator Sarah Davies, and tell her how much the support she gave meant to Bethan and her family.

Mum-of-three Bethan found herself on statutory sick pay (SSP) after needing to be off work for close to a year following her non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis in February 2018.

Whilst Bethan’s employers were supportive and kept her on full pay for a period, due to the length of time she’d needed off for treatment, she had to move to SSP around Christmas time last year.

After visiting the Macmillan Cancer information and Support Centre at the University Hospital Wales in Cardiff, Bethan met Sarah.

Sarah initially helped Bethan with applying for a grant, before going the extra festive mile to help the whole family.

Bethan, who lives in Barry, said; “I was very worried about work and how they would react.

“As a single parent, I didn’t know what benefits would be available to me.

“Sarah went above and beyond. She gathered Christmas presents, wrapped them up and brought them to the house when she knew the children weren’t there, so I could hide them.

“Without her, Christmas would have been such a struggle, and I want to thank her for everything she’s done.

“She gave my children their Christmas.”

Sarah was surprised with Christmas gifts including a bunch of flowers and a Boots Macmillan Beauty Calendar, which was donated by the high-street store, a longstanding partner of the charity that has raised more than £18m in fundraising for Macmillan since the partnership began.

Sarah, who works tirelessly to support people living with their cancer and their families, said: “It’s lovely to be thanked for the work I do, but I really enjoy what I am doing, and I’m privileged to be able to do it.

“Christmas is about families and about the children, but if you’re going through treatment, it can be a really difficult time.

“I thought it would be a nice little extra thing for them really. It was really nice to turn up with a great big bag of presents just before Christmas.

“The look on Bethan’s face, it made it all worthwhile.”

Richard Pugh, Head of Services (Wales) for Macmillan Cancer Support said: “We often see cancer patients forming a unique relationship with the Macmillan professional who supports them, as they guide them through treatment, help with money worries or advise on managing the trials of daily life with cancer.

“Having that person to turn to, especially when it may be difficult to confide in loved ones, is something that resonates with thousands of people across the country who have had their lives turned upside down.

“That doesn’t stop at Christmas, as Macmillan healthcare workers continue to treat and support people with cancer over the festive period.

“It’s wonderful to see people have the chance to say thank you for that support, especially in the run up to Christmas.

“This support is funded almost entirely by donations, so I want to thank everyone who has donated to Macmillan to help us be right there with people affected by cancer at Christmas, and throughout the year.”

Macmillan funds services in hospital and communities across the UK, including nurses, information and support services, and benefits advice projects.

Support is also available by calling the charity’s support line on 0808 808 0000 or visiting its online community where people can get peer support 24/7.