A PONTYPOOL man diagnosed with a rare disease has thanked a new advice service run by Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales for offering much needed financial support.

Earlier this year, Stephen Millichamp, 45, was diagnosed with AL Amyloidosis, a rare disease that causes protein to build up in his heart and reduces his heart’s ability to work properly.

The father-of-three was told that his condition was terminal and was offered chemotherapy as a treatment for the symptoms of his illness.

He said: “As far as I'm aware, there is only three other people in Wales who have the disease, and I am the youngest of those.

“I've been on chemotherapy for eight months now, and am looking to hopefully undergo a stem cell transplant next year.”

It was when Mr Millichamp was undergoing his first course of chemotherapy that he met Macmillan Welfare Benefits Adviser Leanne McMillan.

He said: “I was sat in hospital just trying to come to terms with my diagnosis and the effects of chemotherapy.

“It is amazing how quickly financial worries built up to become as overwhelming as worries over my diagnosis.

“Leanne was an absolute godsend, She took all the paperwork away and dealt with that. It allowed me to concentrate on my recovery.

“Without that help I probably would have still been going through all the paperwork for months. I would have had to keep going to and from the job centre.

“Within a week I received a cheque from Macmillan and I was set up to get the benefits that I was entitled to because if my illness.”

Following an investment of almost £250,000 from Macmillan Wales, Ms McMillan is part of a team operating at hospital sites across the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area.

The team is part of a nationwide network of advisers across Wales who are funded by Macmillan Wales to help people cope with the huge financial pressures caused by cancer.

The new team operates in hospitals throughout Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, including the Royal Gwent in Newport, Nevill Hall in Abergavenny and also Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr in Ystrad Mynach.

If you need to contact the team, which offers a free and confidential service, call 01873 733151 or email Benefits.ABB@wales.nhs.uk

If you have been affected by cancer and would like information and support from Macmillan, visit www.macmillan.org.uk or call the Macmillan Support line on 0808 808 00 00.