Don't face it alone – a Travellers’ Times and Macmillan’s Cancer support advice film for Gypsies and Travellers

25 February 2022

The Travellers’ Times, Macmillan Cancer Support charity, and Gypsy and Traveller people from across England, have teamed up to make a video showing you how you can get advice and support if you, or a friend, or a family member have cancer, or think you may need to get checked up for it.

“What Macmillan are good at, is helping to pick you up from those low days and helping you to move on,” says Romany Gypsy Chris Smith, 62.

When we first started this film with Macmillan, we were told by many Gypsies and Travellers that, “If Macmillan want to know how to engage with us, just ask us”. So that’s what the Travellers’ Times and Macmillan did and our video is co-created with the help and support of the Gypsy and Traveller community.

Macmillan are a charity dedicated to helping people suffering from cancer. Their services are free and they are independent of the National Health Service and your local hospital and doctors. They are there to support you. Many people who have been helped by Macmillan, including Gypsies and Travellers, have then gone on to raise money for Macmillan so they can then carry on supporting people with cancer. Macmillan often have a bus and a stall at the annual Appleby Horse Fair. They can provide health advice, advice on how to deal with the NHS and your doctor, financial advice and how to access benefits, and also emotional support. You can speak to them on the phone, online using their ‘webchat’ or by dropping in to an information desk. They can help you every step of the way and don’t just deal with end of life services.

“The faster you find out things, the faster you can get treatment, try not to bury your head in the sand and keep on,” says Romany Gypsy Lena McAllister.

We know that ‘Cancer’ is a scary word. Some of us do talk about it, some call it ‘the bad disease’ or the ‘c’ word and some of us won’t talk about it at all, and we understand why – but there is no doubt that with the right help and advice you and your family members can be better supported through it. Macmillan are there to provide that support to you.

My Mum won’t even say the word, she thought even saying it would give it to you, Chris Smith
Man with baseball cap and book
Chris Smith (c) Luke Collins

Talking to Gypsy and Traveller people all over the UK we found out why it’s so important to get early help and to talk to professionals, family and friends about your experience and also found what some of barriers are to getting help for lots of us. As well as this short film we made one for use by Macmillan staff and health care professionals to help them help their staff to offer better support and care to Gypsy and Traveller people.

 Macmillan’s national support line is also open every day between 8am to 8pm. Anyone affected by cancer can call free on 0808 808 00 00. The website,, has lots of information and an option for you to chat to an expert online. There’s also our online community where people share experiences, ask questions and talk to people who understand what they might be going through.

Macmillan is here to do whatever it takes to support you from the moment you are diagnosed. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need information, support or just someone to talk to.

Don’t face it alone.

TT Team