Kevin: ‘Without that support I would have been waiting weeks for benefits’

Kevin Duffy, 49, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in December 2015.

“My right hand side had been sore around my ribs since September,” he says. “I was going to the toilet about five times a day.”

When he went to his GP, she told him he had jaundice and referred him to St John’s for further tests. On Boxing Day he was admitted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
It was at the beginning of January that Kevin, from Polbeth, West Lothian, got the bad news.

“They asked me to get my family together and then said ‘You’ve got cancer.’ My older sister Susan asked ‘How long are we talking?’ and they said it was a matter of months, not years.

“It was quite a shock because I thought it was just something to do with my bladder.

“You get told you have got cancer and then told the even worse news they can’t treat it. They can only slow it down with chemotherapy.”

Following his diagnosis, Kevin’s GP told him about the Carmondean Macmillan Information Point in Livingston where he could get benefit advice and support.

He met Welfare Rights Officer Melanie Bunce who helped him get Employment Support Allowance and a Personal Independence Payment as well as a Blue Badge for parking and a bus pass which allows him and a companion to travel for free.

Kevin, who is unemployed, was also awarded a Macmillan grant of £450 towards clothing, heating and a holiday.

In addition, Melanie arranged a week’s holiday in Oban for Kevin and his younger sister and sorted out his council tax and rent arrears.

“Macmillan’s support has been invaluable,” he says. “Without that support I would have been waiting weeks for benefits. With incurable cancer you can’t wait that long.

“If it had not been for Macmillan, I would not have able to do half of what I have done.”
His sister Janette adds: “Melanie has been brilliant. We could not have gone through this without her. We would have been struggling.”

Kevin and his twin brother Stephen brought forward their 50th birthday celebrations from April to January, when they visited Amsterdam.

In April, Kevin hopes to visit Tiree, where his mother’s family originally came from.
“We are trying to cram everything in. I just want to see as much as possible.”

Find out more about how we can help you with your finances.

How you can help people affected by cancer, like Kevin

Email your election candidates for the Scottish Parliament vote on May 5 and ask them that if they get into power, they’ll make sure every cancer patient is offered a full assessment of all their needs and directed to the right support services.