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Johnny Vegas highlights challenges faced by shielding cancer patients

Johnny Vegas has previous experience with Macmillan (Ian West/PA)
Johnny Vegas has previous experience with Macmillan (Ian West/PA)

Johnny Vegas has said spending two weeks alone in lockdown “wrecked his head” as he highlighted the challenges faced by cancer patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

The comedian joined a Zoom call with Mandy Mahoney, 49, from London, who is living with treatable but not curable breast cancer and has been shielding for over 100 days, as he urged the public to donate to Macmillan’s Emergency Appeal.

Vegas, whose father was supported by Macmillan Cancer Support, heard about the difficulty of attending chemotherapy appointments alone during the pandemic, the emotional toll of shielding and her fears about what the future holds as lockdown eases for the rest of society.

She also told him how Macmillan’s support line and online community have been vital sources of support for her throughout the crisis.

The charity has experienced a significant drop in income due to the pandemic and launched an appeal in April as a result. It also launched a ‘Telephone Buddies’ scheme to match volunteers with cancer patients to give them a regular call to discuss what they are experiencing.

Vegas said: “There are countless numbers of people like Mandy who are dealing with cancer during the pandemic. Macmillan is such an important lifeline to them all and it needs all the help it can get so it can continue to be there for people who rely on its vital services.

“Anything you can give makes such a huge difference to the lives of people living with cancer.”

He added: “For the first time, during the last fortnight, I’ve actually been in lockdown on my own.

“My son has gone back to his mum’s and I’ve been doing support work within the community – doing food drops and sourcing and delivering PPE. So, I’ve only had two weeks proper experience of lockdown on my own and it’s already wrecking my head.

“I’ve only had to isolate myself for two weeks and I’m losing it. I’ve just had a crew here filming Gogglebox and I just didn’t want them to leave.”

Mahoney added: “Covid-19 has made living with cancer lonelier and more isolating because now you’re just left inside with your thoughts.

“I want to go back to work and do all the things that made my life the norm for me, but I’m not confident about when I’ll be able to do that. Thankfully there are people like Macmillan.

“I use their phone line like it’s the fourth emergency service, it’s basically on speed dial. You need that particularly when you can’t go out to meet your friends and family.”

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