Maggie’s | BWS Charity of the year

BWS Charity of the Year

The first pioneering Maggie’s cancer care centre opened 20 years ago this November in the grounds of the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.

Based on the vision of Maggie Keswick Jencks, who lived with advanced cancer for two years, the centre was designed to provide a place for people to find information and support in a setting very different to a hospital.

Since then the charity, which relies almost entirely on voluntary donations, has grown at an extraordinary rate and in 2016 the 20th Maggie’s Centre will open in the grounds of Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert.

As the eighth in Scotland, it will mean there will be a Maggie’s in every main NHS cancer treatment centre north of the border providing a free evidence-based programme of practical, social and emotional support to people with cancer as well as their family and friends.

Sarah Murray, owner of Jane Davidson boutique in Edinburgh, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of 2014. The news was devastating for the busy mum-of-two and businesswoman, but thankfully a friend took her to Maggie’s Edinburgh. The 41 year-old said: “I knew of Maggie’s because I’d been involved in fundraising for them, but I don’t think I understood how they support people until I was diagnosed myself.

“It became a safe haven for me. You don’t always want to keep talking to your friend and family about what’s happening, but at Maggie’s you could ask the questions you didn’t really want to ask your surgeon.”

On her first visit Sarah went to a relaxation class, but on following visits she went to the nutrition workshops and spoke to a cancer support specialist.

When she was having radiotherapy every day for a month, she would also drop into Maggie’s for a cup of tea when her treatment had finished. She said: “It was just nice to speak to other people in a similar situation who understood what I was going through.

“I was at a time in my life when I didn’t want to do any of the things I normally enjoyed and visiting Maggie’s helped me through it all by giving me incredible emotional support.”

To mark the anniversary Business Women Scotland has named Maggie’s its 2016 Charity of the Year – so look out for a year of exciting opportunities
and collaborations.