Who we are
We are a small charity aiming to raise awareness of the link between suffering with persistent heartburn and having oesophageal cancer or a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s oesophagus. We support sufferers and their loved ones and provide information to the general public and the medical profession.
Around 8000 people die in the UK every year from oesophageal cancer.
That’s 22 every day.
Heartburn Cancer UK was founded by Mimi McCord following the tragic death of her husband Michael, aged just 47, from the disease. His death, like many others, was preventable. Michael had suffered from heartburn for much of his adult life. If he had known about the dangers associated with this he could have sought medical help and the outcome might have been very different. We know that, with the right information, 59% of oesophageal cancer cases are preventable.
Mimi’s mission, then and to this day, is to raise public awareness of the dangers of persistent heartburn and to urge people to seek medical advice from their GP. As a charity we provide support and education to sufferers of persistent heartburn, Barrett's oesophagus and oesophageal cancer and we work towards earlier diagnosis to help save lives and improve outcomes.
What we are trying to do
Social distancing as a result of Covid-19 means that we have had to suspend our usual support group meetings for sufferers of Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal cancer and has highlighted the need for new ways of providing support. Prior to Covid-19 we offered peer support in specific geographical areas but we want to establish an online forum that means we can support sufferers regardless of their location. This will allow us to extend and update our service, supporting those who may not feel confident to attend meetings, who live in areas where there is no physical group or who work or have a busy family life and need a support network that they can dip into at times that suit them. Funds will be used to enable us to set up and monitor the forum, to spread the word about the service across social media and in healthcare settings and other community hubs, to provide any clinical advice needed and to ensure that all those who use it get the most they can from the online community we create.
Why is this important?
Our community is not in a specific location but is a group with specific health conditions and similar anxieties and experiences. Living with cancer or with a condition which may lead to cancer, can be extremely testing, affecting mental and physical health. Evidence shows that peer support projects such as this can help sufferers to feel connected, informed and understood, improving their resilience and empowering them to face the many challenges that their conditions raise and to have a better quality of life.
The importance of support is best described by those that need it, and so to conclude, here are a few words from people who have been in contact over the past few months:
- Jean – Cambridgeshire
“I just don’t have the words to explain what a difference you have made to me today, thank you just isn’t enough. For the first time in so long I don’t feel like a list of problems being examined, I feel like a person. I finally understand what has been causing the pain and what the medication does. Before I spoke to you, I just didn’t know what I would do if you couldn’t help me, but you have made the future seem hopeful – Thank you so very, very much”
- John – Scotland
“I can’t thank you enough. Just a response has made all the difference, it genuinely has. I ate a little more tonight and the pain came back so it is back to eating little. I was desperate and scared. Just knowing someone out there cared really helped.
Again, I can’t emphasise enough the difference you have made, and I mean that”
- Jennifer – Staffordshire
“I came across this wonderful charity within my first 6 months and they very kindly gave me advice and support which I feel is so valuable when you are diagnosed with something like Barrett’s Oesophagus, I feel they make up for the lack of support within the healthcare system in my area."