How do you know if what you do for a living is worthwhile? Nebulous in the extreme a sense of “work which is worthwhile” can be a hard thing to quantify. However, today I am delighted to be in the possession of a number that helps me do just that. Last Thursday was the opening of the new Maggie’s Centre in Newcastle.
For weeks my working life has been almost completely dedicated to generating media interest. Last week was a frenzy of activity from dawn to dusk culminating in a VIP opening with former PM Gordon Brown’s wife and Maggie’s Patron Sarah Brown. On the day in question I must have run a marathon in high heels pulling wonderful if slightly bemused case studies from one camera to the next and extricating VIPs from conversations to do sit down chats as ITV, Sky, BBC, The Guardian, The Observer and many others descended on the beautiful new building in the grounds of the Freeman Hospital designed by renowned architect Ted Cullinan.
Since then, I have been told, nearly 150 people with cancer, or friends and families of those with cancer, have visited the Centre in search of support purely because they “saw it on telly”. What a nice feeling. It had been a fantastic event to be a part of anyway with well known names from the North East of England, NHS staff and people and organisations from the local community who had raised the funds needed to build the Centre all in attendance. Everyone loved the building – Maggie’s after all takes pride in working with top quality architects who despite having the same architectural brief create quite unique buildings – and the hundreds of people who visited the Centre last Thursday left inspired. But while that’s all well and good Maggie’s message – especially in a city where there hasn’t been a Centre before – needs to reach those who need the support. It is vital that those people understand what Maggie’s has to offer and come to experience it doing what it is designed to do – provide a healing space for people with cancer and their friends and families. A place where they can speak to cancer support specialists, take relaxation classes or just have a cup of tea and look out on the gardens. And the wonderful figure of 150 people who popped in just because they had “seen it on telly” tells me that all the pressure, exhaustion, stress and endless meetings, phone calls and emailing of the last few weeks has been more than worth it.
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