A financial crisis is threatening to close a cancer trust that helps people cope with the deadly disease.

The Sara Lee Trust, set up after the death of a fashion stylist, needs to find £120,000 before March or it will face closure.

The trust, which runs a treatment centre at St Michael's Hospice in St Leonards, has eased the suffering of cancer patients by providing alternative therapies for ten years.

It helps people from all over Sussex and has a proven track record in making life more bearable for people with cancer.

But a year of disasters across the globe has meant its regular donations have dried up.

Linda Morgan, from the trust, said: "One of the major problems is that last year we had the tsunami and the London bombings and that has meant people have given donations to other charities.

"We are not begrudging them that at all but it means we are now facing some problems."

The trust was set up in 1995 after the death of fashion stylist Sara Lee. The 32-year-old developed a rare cancer of the arm and died after two years of receiving traditional and alternative treatments.

It was her wish for a trust to be set up provide to the alternative therapies that eased her last few months.

Aromatherapy, counselling, relaxation techniques and acupuncture are all methods employed to treat cancer patients. Patients with HIV, Aids and Motor Neurone Disease have also been treated.

Previously it was estimated £60,000 would be needed to save the trust. That has now risen to £120,000, which is needed in less than three months.

Mrs Morgan said: "We do a number of things, not least taking people on days out, which really enriches their quality of life.

"Things are really starting to dry up and if we don't receive more funding by March, we are going to have to stop."

Cancer Research UK welcomed the trust's attempts to stay open. A spokesman said: "Alternative therapies are incredibly valuable for patients.

"The work and methods employed by all alternative therapy centres is increasingly becoming recognised by the medical profession and we know it is a proven method, which eases suffering."

Sara Lee fund-raising manager, Paul Skelly, said previous appeals have raised significant funds, but not enough has been raised to save the trust. He said the trust was launching one last-ditch effort.

He added: "We are very grateful for what people have done in the past but we are now having to launch the last effort to try to make a difference."

Banks in St Leonards and Hastings have donated money and Mrs Morgan said people have been walking in with envelopes full of cash', but it has not been enough to stave off the threat of closure.

Mrs Morgan said: "People have been amazing of late but we need a major amount very quickly, a major donor."

The trust is due to celebrate its tenth anniversary this year. Mr Skelly said: "We fully intend to be around to celebrate."