Players of People's Postcode Lottery have given Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres an amazing £3.6 Million since 2008. The charity offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer, as well as their family and friends.
There are now two million people in the UK who have or have had cancer, and more than 300,000 people a year diagnosed with cancer. A cancer diagnosis can bring tough questions, exhausting treatment and difficult emotions. Maggie's Centres, built in the grounds of major NHS cancer hospitals, are there to help people find their way through.
Each Maggie's Centre is designed as a place of warmth and light on the doorstep of the hospital, but a world away from a clinical environment. The Centres are staffed by qualified professionals, who offer a unique programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. That support includes courses for people at all stages of the process, whether newly diagnosed or recently finished treatment. It also includes workshops on nutrition, stress management and exercise, as well as art therapy, yoga and creative writing classes. At the heart of every Maggie's Centre is a big kitchen table where Centre visitors can have a cup of tea and chat with people who understand what they are going through.
Karl Baxter lost his wife Kathleen to cancer when she was just 39 years old. Karl and Kathleen and their four children found incredible support at Maggie's Edinburgh. Kathleen would regularly drop into the Centre before hospital appointments.
Karl explained, "Maggie's is such a beautiful, calm, tranquil place. It helped Kathleen to relax before going for chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It was also massively helpful to her to get to know other people who were going through the same things. The support network is unbelievable." Centre staff also helped Karl and Kathleen's children with their anxiety about their mum and supported the family after Kathleen passed away.
The funding that players give to Maggie's Centres helps the charity continue helping people with cancer, as well as their family and friends. To put that support into context, the £3.6 Million awarded so far by players would pay for 105,000 visits from people like Karl and his family.
Maggie's wants to help more people affected by cancer. With 18 Maggie's Centres across the UK, online and abroad, and more under way, the charity hopes to reach as many people as possible.
As Karl said, "So many people get told they have cancer. They need to know that there's a place you can go – it is called Maggie's."