This is why we are aligning with Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres



A very dear friend suggested that I pop into a Maggie’s Centre one day. I remember being in a bit of a huff and rather indignant about such a suggestion. Why on earth would my friend say I had to pop into a cancer care centre? I mean really! And then I had this dialogue with myself… ‘because you have cancer Deborah’. ‘Do I?’. ‘Oh yes apparently so’. I had many such conversations with myself.

Maggie’s Oxford offers free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer and their families and friends. Their purpose-built centre in the grounds of the Churchill Hospital is lit up with a pink neon sign; luring you in. Thankfully.

Set in the trees, (It literally is a tree house in a dip in the ground!), the centre changes with the seasons and provides a sense of calm. Evidence shows that the uplifting environment reduces stress and anxiety, and fully enhances our programme of support.

A warm and welcoming place where anyone affected by cancer can access friendly and professional support on a drop-in basis, completely free of charge. The centre is funded entirely by voluntary donations; they don’t receive any government or NHS funding.

I gained so much from Maggie’s. They have this habit of underpinning you without you realising it has happened. I had visited Maggie’s three times, and on each occasion, they were either life-enhancing, life-changing or life-affirming. I have picked up new friends, a new collaboration for business, and even an amazing new client. Wow! Who knew?!

I love the history and depth of Maggie’s. It is a beautiful story worth telling. It is heart-warming in every way.

In May 1993, Maggie Keswick Jencks was told that her breast cancer had returned and she was given two to three months to live. She joined an advanced chemotherapy trial and lived for another 18 months.

During that time, she and her husband Charles Jencks worked closely with her medical team, which included oncology nurse, Laura Lee, now Maggie’s Chief Executive, to develop a new approach to cancer care.

In order to live more positively with cancer, Maggie and Charles believed you needed information that would allow you to be an informed participant in your medical treatment, stress-reducing strategies, psychological support and the opportunity to meet other people in similar circumstances in a relaxed domestic atmosphere.

Maggie was determined that people should not “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying” and the day before she died in June 1995, she sat in her garden, face to the sun and said: “Aren’t we lucky?”

In November 1996, the first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh and what Maggie had planned became real. There are now 26 UK centres, 3 international centres and 5 more in development. What a stunning legacy.

With its depth, history, beauty, authenticity, support, inspiration, practicalities, guidance, conversation and heart-warming approach; it is a pleasure for 365 Days of Breast Cancer to support Maggie’s.

Thank you, Maggie.

P.S You can listen to a podcast with Maggie’s HERE