Man forced to work during chemotherapy 'to keep the lights on' for his children

Lewis Griffiths, who is having to work during cancer treatment to keep the lights on
During Lewis' first round of chemotherapy he struggled to keep the pre-payment energy metre topped up. Credit: Media Wales

A dad has described how he had to work during four months of cancer treatment in order to pay his bills.

There were days when Lewis Griffiths, 33, from Llandaff North in Cardiff, could not afford to turn on the electricity and so realised he had to take on work while having chemotherapy.

Lewis, who lives with his two children and three stepchildren, set up a bathroom installation business six months before he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma - a form of blood cancer.

Talking about his experience, Lewis said: "I was exhausted from chemo but had to work to keep the lights on for my children.

"Some days there was no electric. It's a good job the kids weren't with us on those days.

"I wanted to rest as much as I could but there were times I had to go out of bed and work to get some money in. I had to make sure the kids were fed and had electricity."

"There's only so much you can do to keep your mind busy. It's one of the hardest things I've had to do" Credit: Media Wales

When his chemotherapy ended he was given the all-clear but was unfortunately told just a week later that he still had cancer.

He now faces another gruelling round of treatment and as the cost of living crisis continues to worsen, he is worried about his finances.

Lewis' friends are now aiming to raise £4,000 to help him and his family.

"You're told how to deal with the cancer, but not how to deal with the money side of it," said Lewis.

"The electric bills and everything have gone up. With Christmas coming up I just want the kids to be ok".

Lewis is yet to return to full-time work and thinks he will need more rest when he starts his second round of chemotherapy.

He said: "The last thing I want is for my kids to not be able to eat and have to sit in the dark."

'People with cancer need to be able to focus on treatment'

But Lewis is not alone in his experience.

A new study conducted for cancer support charity Maggie’s has found that nearly half of patients with the disease in Wales are just as worried about the cost of living crisis as they are their illness.

The survey found that 45% of the 500 people who responded were concerned about making money stretch.

Dame Laura Lee, Maggie’s Chief Executive, said: "It is truly shocking that people living with cancer – which is possibly the hardest, most frightening experience of their lives – are now so worried about money that it is overshadowing the fact they are living with cancer. 

"Many even feel the current crisis will impact their chances of successful treatment."

36% of cancer patients fear the cost of living crisis is impacting their chances of successful treatment Credit: PA Images

In Wales, more than a third of cancer patients think they will also struggle to pay for food and heating this winter.

And almost two thirds of those with the illness are concerned about the cost of travelling to hospital for treatment - more than a quarter said they worry "very much" about it.

Dame Laura added: "The situation is clearly only going to get worse as the cost of fuel, food and heating continue to rise in the autumn.

"We know people with cancer are harder hit by the cost of living crisis.  They need to use more heating, they are living on reduced incomes and paying to travel for treatment.

 "We also know people are returning to work too early because they can’t survive on benefits. This too can have devastating consequences.

"This is simply wrong.  People with cancer need to be able to focus on treatment."