The Prince of Wales has written of the challenges faced by cancer patients during the coronavirus pandemic in an exclusive for The Telegraph.
Writing in his role as patron of the Macmillan Cancer Trust, Prince Charles says that, “Every new year is an opportunity to reflect, as we pause to look back at what has passed and perhaps to spare a moment to anticipate what may come. This new year, however, is like no other. The year on which we look back has been one of the most testing our society has ever experienced in peacetime. The year ahead continues to hold challenges undreamed of a mere 12 months ago.”
He writes that, in 2021, he hopes that: “we can spare a moment to think of all those affected by cancer who not only share the challenges we all face, but who also have their own momentous, personal struggles as well, which have been made all the heavier by the extraordinary changes to all our lives. Almost three million people in the United Kingdom are living with cancer – a number that is expected to increase. Receiving a cancer diagnosis or going through treatment can be among the most frightening experiences imaginable, even in normal times.”
“And our times, this past year, have been far from normal. In many cases, due to the pandemic, difficulties have become crises, a sense of isolation has become actual separation, and – as vital treatment or surgery has in some cases been postponed – anxiety has become despair.”
Of his 23 years with the Macmillan Cancer Trust, Prince Charles writes that, “I have met countless people whose lives have been touched by cancer. I never cease to be inspired by those who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to helping them. They seem to me to exemplify so many of the qualities that, in a time of great trial, are a cause for immense admiration and gratitude.”
During the pandemic, the Trust has been “adapting to this ever-evolving situation to ensure that cancer does not become ‘the Forgotten C’ during the pandemic but, even so, Covid has taken a devastating toll, with the charity losing a third of its fundraised income.”
Prince Charles continues that, even though a pandemic may be harrowing, “a charity set up to tackle cancer is not easily daunted and, as we have seen throughout this last year, right across our country the formidable will and compassion of the British people have outshone every darkness. I have no doubt that the kindness and generosity which has been so much in evidence during this past year will sustain these life-saving services in the months that lie ahead. Compassion, we have learned, has not become fatigued; it has strengthened with use. Sacrifice has become second nature.”
Prince Charles ends his article by praising the attitude of people in the United Kingdom throughout the pandemic. “We have lived through one of the most anxious and uncertain of years. Much has been suffered; much has been lost. But much, too, has been rediscovered: an endurance that we somehow always knew was the bedrock of our character; a compassion that we trusted lay at the heart of our values; a courage which we sensed could always be called upon in the hour of greatest need. In this crisis, the people of this country have not proved wanting; they have proved themselves equal to the highest of our ideals, inheritors of the best of our traditions and worthy of the momentous history in which they, too, have now played their part.”