Businesses and individuals are being urged to give one extra, small gift this Christmas to help local families coping with cancer.
Dorset Cancer Care Foundation, which gives grants to Dorset cancer patients, has launched a ‘Secret Santa’ campaign to help families facing cancer to afford festive food and gifts.
The campaign has already received backing from the commercial arm of AFC Bournemouth, AFC Business, which is encouraging its members and other Dorset businesses to donate.
Eve Went, who helped found Dorset Cancer Care Foundation (DCCF) in 2012, said: “In addition to huge emotional stress, cancer can cause immense financial stress for families.
“A parent who is undergoing cancer treatment might not be well enough to work, and when a child has cancer, parents often have to miss work to take them to appointments or care for them at home. When this happens bills soon begin to pile up.
“Christmas is a special time, but it also means extra expense for these already struggling families,” she added.
“We hope that people who are looking forward to spending time with their own families this Christmas will take a few minutes to make a small donation to the Secret Santa appeal and help those who are facing dark times.
“Many of us are already buying secret Santa gifts for colleagues while companies will be buying their clients Christmas boxes.
“We cannot help these families beat cancer, but by making a small, extra donation, we can ensure they afford some luxuries this Christmas.”
Also supporting the launch of the Secret Santa campaign are Marta and Krzysztof Swiderek, from Bournemouth, who both have cancer and have been helped by DCCF.
Krzysztof works for a recycling company and has kidney cancer.
Marta, who works as a cleaner has a gynaecological cancer.
Marta said: “We have both tried to keep working throughout our treatment, but there have been times when it has made us very sick and it has been very hard to afford all our bills and the things our sons Viktor, 12, and John, seven, need.
“When Viktor asked to go on a school trip with the rest of his class we thought it would be impossible.
“It feels awful to let your children down. It is bad enough that they have two sick parents.
“But DCCF heard about our situation through Viktor’s school and stepped in to help us meet the cost.
“We cannot thank this charity enough and supporting their campaign and, hopefully, helping other local families this Christmas time is something we are proud to do.”
Ashton McClelland from AFC Bournemouth’s commercial team dressed as Santa to help DCCF launch Secret Santa at the Vitality Stadium.
He said: “The club is a proud supporter of DCCF and we will be urging all our members to make a donation and hope individuals will too.
“Having met Marta Swiderek and her sons it’s easy to see how making a small gift can make all the difference.”
Donating to secret Santa is easy. Simply visit www.dccf.co.uk/dccf-christmas-family-appeal
Or JustGiving: www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/dccf/christmas17