Businesses across the North East are being urged to support an innovative cancer centre which has transformed lives in the region.
Maggie’s Centre at the Freeman Hospital provides practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends.
The £3m centre opened in 2013 and has already seen 23,500 people use its facilities in the first year - outstripping the charity’s own estimates of 4,500.
Influential businesswoman Lorna Moran, who is chairwoman of Maggie’s North East, is aiming to encourage more of the region’s business community to support the running of the centre, which relies wholly on fundraising, sponsorship and donations.
Ms Moran said: “Cancer is a very emotional illness, and it’s not just the patient who has a hard time of it. Family and friends are also impacted, and what Maggie’s offers is like nowhere else.
“Never before have cancer sufferers and their loved ones been able to access psychological support, financial advice on benefits and mortgages, and a caring shoulder to lean on.
“Like many business people, a lot of charity calls come my way, but I have to say that Maggie’s really blew me away when I visited the centre. There is so much fantastic work going on, with such little resource.”
Business who have already pledged their support for Maggie’s North East include Ward Hadaway, Procter & Gamble, Kilfrost and NRG.
Now Ms Moran is encouraging other companies to “Sponsor A Day” at Maggie’s for £2,400.
A dedicated day on October 7 will drive the campaign which hopes to attract a sizeable chunk of the region’s business community to take part - whether it be through fundraising or one-off donations.
Karen Verrill, the centre’s head, has been a qualified oncology nurse for 34 years, and now looks after the day-to-day running of Maggie’s Newcastle as well as helping to deliver the support herself.
She describes her job as the busiest and most rewarding she had in her career to date - saying there was a huge demand for this kind of centre in the North East.
Mrs Verrill said: “One person visited us and said that walking through our doors was like being back in his mother’s arms. We’ve had so many people who have said the centre has made such a difference to their life - cancer sufferers, their family and friends.
“Medical treatment of cancer is only one component of the care and the support when you step outside of the hospital doors is absolutely crucial.
“We’re as busy as the Edinburgh centre, which was the first Maggie’s centre, opened in 1996. That gives you some indication of the demand there is in the region.”
Businesses who would like to Sponsor A Day at Maggie’s should get in touch with centre fundraising manager, Kelly Knighting-Wykes on firstname.lastname@example.org.