Maggie’s provides free cancer support and information to people living with cancer and their families and friends. Their centres sit next to NHS hospitals across the country and provide a breathing space away from the hospital. These give people the opportunity to meet others who understand what they’re going through, or simply to take a moment to gather their thoughts.
How Did Maggie’s Begin?
Maggie’s was founded by Maggie Keswick and her husband, architecture critic, Charles Jencks. In 1988, after being told Maggie only had months left to live, Charles had to sit in a bare, busy hospital corridor still reeling from the news. At that moment Maggie and Charles felt that there should be somewhere better for people with cancer to go and that people with cancer should not, in Maggie’s own words, ‘lose the joy of living in the fear of dying’.
Over the next two years Maggie and Charles developed their ideas and in 1995 revealed plans for the first Maggie’s Centre. The centre opened the following year, near the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, with Maggie’s oncology nurse Laura Lee taking on the role of Centre Head. She is still the charity’s CEO today, 24 years and 25 centres on.
How Do Maggie’s Centres Support Those Living with Cancer?
Maggie’s helps people regain control when cancer turns their life upside down. Their support spans across everything from treatment side effects to money worries. Their professional teams provide help and information, and our centres run groups and activities all designed to make coping with cancer easier.
Maggie’s unique buildings are designed by leading architects. They are warm, welcoming places designed to help people find the hope, determination and resources they need to face cancer. Their qualified, professional staff are on hand to offer an evidence based programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. There is also trusted information available through their online community, blog and answers to questions in the discussion forum.
What Support Does Maggie’s Offer?
Maggie’s believe everyone should have access to professional psychological and emotional support to help change the way they live with cancer.
Emotional support can involve a one-to-one or group session with a clinical psychologist, stress relieving and relaxation workshops, art therapy and creative writing courses.
Practical support includes advice about benefits from highly qualified advisors, how to navigate going back to work as well as nutrition courses. They also offer specialist support for managing hair loss and skin care during and after treatment as well as courses such as ‘Getting Started’, for people who are newly diagnosed; or ‘Where Now?’ for those adjusting to life after cancer.
Social support comes from the people who work in and visit the centres along with the supportive community around each kitchen table of people who understand what it is to be living with cancer.
Maggie’s is completely reliant on voluntary donations to support and grow their network of centres across the UK and to develop and share their unique, high quality programme of support. To find out more about them, where your nearest centre is and how to support them, please visit their website www.maggiescentres.org or just go in to your local centre and speak to a friendly member of staff.
Cast a vote for Maggie’s this December in our Charity Poll and help them continue their unique programmes of support for those living with cancer. Thank you.