This week we have invited Maggies Centres Scotland to tell you all about the work they do as well as a chance to meet the team taking on our mighty Ben Nevis Charity Challenge all in aid of Maggies.
Adrian Ewan, and his team Hitmen and Her, are just a week from tackling the Ben Nevis Charity Challenge 2015. On September 12, Adrian along with three colleagues from Edinburgh Investment Consultants, Scott McKintosh, Drew Nutsford and Elaine Montgomerie, will hike up and down Ben Nevis, cycle 25 miles then canoe a 3km stretch of Loch Lochy. Not only that, they’ll do it in 10 hours or less and all to raise money for Maggie’s, the charity that offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends.
This will be Adrian’s first charity challenge and the first time he has taken on anything so testing. As he said: “I’ve climbed mountains before but I haven’t then jumped on a bike or canoed up a loch.” And living near Edinburgh in one of Scotland’s less mountainous regions has meant that training has not been straightforward for the team. Adrian said: “The Pentland hills are not very high so we have been up and down them like a yoyo!”
Adrian’s biggest worry is getting on a bike with wobbly knees after descending Ben Nevis, but he’s confident the team will get each other through. And, if it goes well, he might be ready for more: “I’ll have to wait and see but, yeah, I might get the bug!”
Adrian’s decision to run, bike and paddle for Maggie’s was inspired by his mum who died of cancer last year. “She spent a lot of time at Maggie’s Fife and I know she got a lot of benefit from meeting other cancer patients. So when I looked at the charities we could fundraise for Maggie’s just jumped out at me and I convinced the rest of the team.”
Maggie’s Fife is one of a network of Maggie’s Centres, all built in the grounds of NHS cancer hospitals and all following a blueprint of ideas that were set out by Maggie Keswick Jencks who lived for two years with advanced cancer. Maggie believed that people affected by cancer needed a place that was near their treatment hospital where they could get information, psychological support and the chance to meet other people dealing with the same challenges, in a relaxed, domestic environment.
The first Centre opened in Edinburgh, in the grounds of the Western General Hospital, in 1996; there are now 18 Centres across the UK, abroad and online with more in the pipeline. All the Centres are designed by leading architects to create a welcoming and uplifting environment. However, Maggie’s Centres are much more than just beautiful buildings: each one is staffed by qualified professionals, including psychologists and experienced cancer nurses, who offer a free programme of support for people with cancer and their loved ones. Visitors will often simply drop in to the Centre and have a cup of tea with staff and with other Centre visitors - every Maggie’s Centre has a big kitchen table at its heart as well as a kettle and a well-stocked tea and coffee cupboard. They can also choose to take part in a range of courses, classes and groups. Courses on offer include ‘Getting Started’ which is designed for people who have recently been diagnosed, and ‘Where Now’ which helps with the challenges that people can face when treatment is finished, such as going back to work.
The host of workshops and classes that is available covers activities and topics such as relaxation, nutrition, expressive art, yoga and gardening. Plus, there are professional benefits advisers on hand in the Centres to help people to deal with the many financial challenges that cancer can bring. And, each Centre hosts support groups for people who are in similar circumstances, including friends and family groups as well as groups for the bereaved and for people with specific types of cancer.
Why we need support...
One Maggie’s Edinburgh visitor commented: “Maggie’s is like an oasis. It gives you the tools to take your future forward, to take control of your life.”
To keep on offering this support, Maggie’s relies entirely on voluntary donations. It is now forecast that one in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives, and as cancer treatments become more successful the number of people living with cancer is growing and so is the need for support. Maggie’s aims to make the biggest difference possible to people with cancer and their family and friends, and you can help.
You can help Adrian and Hitmen and Her meet their £3000 target by donating here.
Or, why not consider signing up with Dream Challenges for a trek, cycle or team challenge yourself and help Maggie’s to support people who are facing the challenges that a cancer diagnosis brings?
There are still spaces available on the Ben Nevis Charity Challenge 2016...here is a short video to get your challenge taste buds going...
Feel Inspired? To find out more about Dream Challenges events please visit the website or contact us directly: