Need support or advice over Christmas? Our support lines will be open

The Marie Curie Support Line is open for extended hours throughout Christmas, offering practical information and emotional support for anyone affected by terminal illness. Steve Samuel, one of our Support Line advisers, talks about the challenges and rewards of his role.

All kinds of people call the Marie Curie Support Line, from all backgrounds and communities, and of all ages.  They might be someone who is ill or somebody who is struggling to cope with the fact that someone close to them has a terminal illness.

Most are family members of someone who’s ill, often immediately after their loved one has been told they’re not going to get better.

What kind of help do they need?

People need support with a whole range of issues. The main ones are:

  • practical matters and day-to-day care
  • emotional support
  • general information about health and care services
  • financial matters
  • bereavement and coping with grief
  • benefits and social care

Often we find they start by asking a practical question or looking for information, but then they go on to talk about how they’re feeling and so we give them emotional support too. Supporting people through this difficult time is a big part of the job and it’s something our callers seem to value.

How long do you spend on each call?

As long as the caller needs – some calls can be over an hour.

We are there to help people.  Everybody on the Support Line wants to make a difference. That’s why we do this – we passionately believe in our role; it’s more than a job to us.  

Why are you extending opening hours over Christmas?

The Support Line launched in April, so we weren’t around last Christmas. We’re extending our hours because we believe this will be a particularly emotional time for people with a terminal illness and their families. 

People could have lost somebody in the last year, or they could be spending their last Christmas with their loved ones. Christmas is a time of celebration, but it can be a difficult time emotionally.  Some of the people calling us are already saying they are not looking forward to this time of year, so we want to be there to help people when they need support the most.

The Marie Curie Support Line is open every day from 24 December to 4 January, 9am-5pm. Call us free on 0800 090 2309.

This Christmas, you can help keep our phone lines open so people like Steve can be there to offer vital support and practical information to those that need it.