Macmillan Cancer Support – 4 February 2020

Linda with Harry Jackson

Ayr Rotary Club recently welcomed Linda Allan, a representative of Macmillan Cancer Support, who gave a detailed account of the care and support that Macmillan are doing.  It was founded in 1911 by Douglas Macmillan whose father had just died of cancer.

Linda worked for the NHS for 34 years as an occupational therapist and valued the role organisations such as Macmillan played in complementing clinical services given to several members of her family who had been diagnosed with the disease.  She herself was diagnosed with cancer some five years ago and after recovery and after retirement, decided to become a volunteer speaker and fundraiser for them.

She informed the Club that there were over 200 different types of cancer of which lung cancer was the most common.

300,000 Scots will be diagnosed with the disease by 2030 and after diagnosis, help can be provided by Macmillan through sources such as Boots and other chemists, libraries and a dedicated support centre in Glasgow which is within reasonable distance of over two million of the population.  There is a manned phone line which is available 24 hours a day at a cost of £240 per day and the centre has many different leaflets on all types of help.

Linda stressed that this ranged from giving clinical advice, to a grant scheme available for such things as travel expenses, to support in helping people to continue to remain active and to giving psychological counselling to those struggling to cope with the disease.  Advice can also be given on various benefits available to those struggling to make ends meet.  Altogether, in 2018, some 156,000 calls were handled – many of them from Ayrshire.

A large percentage of support is given to those from deprived areas who find it difficult to source help and around one in seventeen people lose their homes post diagnosis.  However, cash aid can be given people to allow them to remain in their homes.

MacMillan Cancer Support has an annual expenditure of £197 million of which 76% goes directly to sufferers and the rest to investing in further ways of providing support.  Of this figure, 98% comes from donations with the rest coming from coffee mornings, kilt runs etc; Macmillan is now the largest charity in the UK after Oxfam and the British Heart Foundation.

Harry Jackson thanked Linda for her very informative talk to an audience only too well aware that they may be grateful for their services one day.

To donate visit