Last week, Stephen visited Maggie’s Cancer Centre in London’s St Bartholomew’s Hospital. He was shown around by Centre Head, Michael Harrison, and was able to see first-hand the difference this facility makes, both to the lives of those living with a cancer diagnosis and to their families.
Founded as a charity in 1995 by cancer sufferer Maggie Keswick Jencks, Maggie’s now has a network of centres located at cancer hospitals around the UK. Each centre provides free practical, emotional and social support to those affected by cancer.
Designed by top architect Steven Holl, the Bart’s Centre aims to create a calming space away from the hustle and bustle of the hospital ward, where those affected by cancer can access services, talk through their experiences or simply sit quietly and have a cup of tea.
Speaking shortly after the visit, Stephen said: “This centre is doing excellent work supporting cancer patients along with their friends and families. Maggie’s has succeeded in creating a relaxed and friendly space where visitors can read, chat, seek advice or simply be in peace away from the main hospital building. The centre also puts on a wide variety of classes including Yoga, Mindfulness and Tai Chi as part of its holistic programme of support. It has clearly proved to be a very important and popular facility and I pay tribute to all the centre staff for doing such a wonderful job”.
The most recent statistics from Cancer Research UK suggest that there are more than 360,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year – an average of one new diagnosis every two minutes. The organisation estimates that four in every ten of these cases could be prevented, citing smoking as the largest cause of cancer in the UK.