Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Your Maggie's Says Hello; New Cancer Facility Will Be a Warm Shelter from the Storm of Disease for Patients and Their Loved Ones

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Your Maggie's Says Hello; New Cancer Facility Will Be a Warm Shelter from the Storm of Disease for Patients and Their Loved Ones

Article excerpt

Byline: HELEN RAE

COMFORT BRIGHTLY coloured seats, a modern exterior and a kitchen many a home would be proud of, this is a first glimpse of the North East's Maggie's cancer centre. Today the centre will be officially opened by patron Sarah Brown, wife of prime minister Gordon Brown. January 2008, the Chronicle teamed up with the charity and launched an appeal to raise PS500,000 to help bring their care to Tyneside.

The cancer service is ready to open its doors to those with the illness and their loved ones.

Karen Verrill, the centre's head, said: "When I first came in and had a look around I was struck by how beautiful it is. It is designed to make people feel comfortable about walking in, putting the kettle on to make a cup of tea. I know Maggie's will make a big difference to those dealing with cancer and their loved ones."

The facility will offer workshops on nutrition and relaxation, tai-chi, benefits advice, stress management and psychotherapy. It is based opposite the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital and has been designed by architect Ted Cullinan.

The PS3m centre is fitted with environmentally friendly features such as solar panels for hot water and the sheltered facility is partly enclosed by a courtyard, while the roof-top patio is an ideal place to relax.

There are two accommodation wings - one houses counselling rooms and a large living room space, the other leads to the all-important kitchen table where people can chat.

A library incorporates stairs up to a mezzanine level that leads out on to the flat landscaped roof and a courtyard occupies the fourth quadrant.

One woman who knows first-hand the importance of a Maggie's centre in the North East is Ann Marie Barton, 45, a business assistant.

Ann Marie, from Forest Hall, North Tyneside, was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2011 and had her right breast removed. Reconstructive surgery and chemotherapy followed.

The wife to Eric, 43, and mum of daughters, Sarah, 18, and Rosie, 13, said: "It's extremely important that there's a Maggie's centre as it's a place people can go to get support and meet others going through a similar situation with the same anxieties. …

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