A specialist centre to support cancer sufferers and their families celebrated its first anniversary last week.
Since opening in the grounds of the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle last May,Maggie’s has had more than 16,000 visits from people with cancer, as well as families and friends.
Managed by Karen Verrill, from Whitley Bay, the Newcastle centre has proved to be the most successful centre since the first Maggie’s facility was launched in 1996.
It offers free practical, emotional and social support, a place which is warm and welcoming and a place with qualified professionals on hand to offer a programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing.
Karen said: “It has been an extraordinary first year for Maggie’s Newcastle.
“The fact we have had so many people visit shows what an incredible need there was for a Maggie’s Centre, and our evidence-based programme of support in the north east of England.
“The people of the area have understood what it is Maggie’s offers, and I am delighted we have been here to offer a warm Maggie’s welcome to men and women of all ages.
“Some people just like to come and sit in our wonderful building with a cup of tea while looking out over our beautiful garden while others come to speak to myself or our cancer support specialist, join the Tai Chi class or another aspect of the programme, such as benefits advice, nutrition workshops or relaxation.
“I am incredibly proud to be Maggie’s Newcastle Centre head and I look forward to welcoming many more people in years to come.”
Maggie’s provides support following the ideas about cancer care originally laid out by Maggie Keswick Jencks, who was determined that people should not “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”.
Karen Mason, from Whitley Bay, is a centre visitor. She said: “Maggie’s is absolutely fantastic, it’s a great place, you can drop in any time and there is always a friendly face there for anybody at any time.”
To mark the first anniversary last Friday, the centre had a cake made to celebrate with staff and users.
Then on the Saturday evening, the Ladies in Pink Scarves Charity held a fashion show at the Marriott Hotel in Gosforth, with more than 30 people living with or affected by cancer taking to the catwalk.
All the proceeds were donated to Maggie’s Newcastle.
For more information visit www.maggiescentres.org/our-centres/maggies-newcastle/