DORSET Cancer Care Foundation (DCCF) is appealing to the public for help as its fundraising programme has been jeopardised by coronavirus.

DCCF provides emergency financial assistance to cancer patients living in the area.

Chris Thomas, Chairman of the charity, said: “DCCF was set up by local people to help families struggling with cancer and each week we are enabling patients to pay for anything from travel to and from hospital to rent and even food.

“Our life’s blood is our fundraising. But we are already looking at the majority of our events this spring and summer being either cancelled or postponed and frankly it’s a terrifying prospect.”

The COVID-19 outbreak has already led to the cancellation of DCCF’s main annual fundraising Ball In June, as well as other events in March and April. Fundraising events planned for later in the year are still in the balance.

Mr Thomas added: “Cancer patients, particularly those part-way through or recently exiting treatment, are at increased risk of the virus due to their already weakened immune systems.

“DCCF’s help is going to be even more important in the coming weeks for so many people.”

Nick Way, a self-employed painter and decorator from Poole, was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 2019. DCCF helped him and his wife Carol pay their mortgage while Nick was undergoing treatment.

Nick said: “Cancer – its effects, treatment and the financial stress it can put upon a family is terrifying and COVID-19 has only added to that fear and uncertainty.

“DCCF helped us when we really needed it. But there are so many more people like me in the county who really need the charity’s help. I would ask anyone reading this to please donate what you can.”

Chris Thomas said: “We have been greatly encouraged by the outpouring of public concern for those in our community who are at a special risk of the coronavirus and we hope people will consider helping DCCF in some small way in the coming months.

“No matter how small the donation your money will go directly to a Dorset family experiencing cancer.”