Shock of cancer man left to live in squalor

VOLUNTEERS have rallied to help a Glasgow man described as one of the worst cases of modern-day poverty in the city.

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  • The group has said it will help clean up the house
    The group has said it will help clean up the house
  • The group has said it will help clean up the house
  • The group has said it will help clean up the house

The 60-year-old cancer sufferer has been living in squalid conditions after becoming unable to look after himself and his home.

The man, who doesn't want to be named, lives in Knightswood.

He was diagnosed with bladder cancer four years ago and is still receiving chemotherapy. He also suffered a heart attack two years ago.

Forced to stop working, his home fell into disrepair - the boiler broke, his gas heating and cooker were condemned and a problem with plumbing caused his toilet to block.

The man had been living in unsanitary conditions with no hot water or heating for six months when his case finally came to light.

When his microwave also stopped working, he lived on Pot Noodles for week before he ran out of money to feed himself.

He turned to the Trussell Trust food bank in at Blawarthill Parish Church in Scotstoun.

Gill McCormick who runs the food bank along with her husband Kyle, said: "We see sad cases every week but this is the worst case I have ever heard about.

"This man has been living in shocking cond-itions while recovering from serious medical conditions.

"He has open wounds and his immune system is weakened from chemo.

"His home was so unsanitary that we feared he could become gravely ill. It was uninhabitable."

Yesterday members of the Trussell Trust gave evidence to the Welfare Committee at the Scottish Parliament.

The charity handed out 27,603 meals from three city food banks during three months last year

Gill added: "The situation in Glasgow isn't getting better.

"We have launched an appeal for furniture and home supplies for this man and others after someone told us that they were in need of children's bedding."

Like many who find themselves in desperate situations, the 60-year-old cancer sufferer told the Evening Times he never thought it would happen to him.

He said: "I have worked all my life and never thought I would become so helpless. Never in a million years.

"My health was my immediate concern. I was knocked for six by the crippling symptoms and would spend days in bed, unaware of my surroundings.

"Problems with the house just piled up."

The man was first diagnosed with cancer four years ago after a relationship breakdown left him in debt.

He said: "I had to stop working and was receiv-ing disability living allowance but much of this went to paying the debt.

"I can't believe how much my life has changed. I was in receipt of benefits but they just didn't cover everything.

"I have worked all my life and paid taxes and I own my house. I think this went against me as I might have been entitled to more assistance if I didn't.

"The help wasn't there when I needed it and I didn't know what to do."

The man said that visiting the Scotstoun food bank is one of the best things he could have done. He added: "These volunteers have gone beyond the call of duty for me. They have given me hope."

Gill, Kyle and the volunteers connected with the food bank have set about transforming the man's house. A new boiler is to be fitted this week and a plumber is to repair the toilet.

Gill has appealed for materials to redecorate.

linzi.watson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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