I am cycling to every single Maggie’s centre this spring to raise awareness of Maggie’s. I really like the ethos of Maggie’s and the stress-free environment they provide to people with cancer.
I was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2011 but I started noticing that something was wrong the previous autumn. It all started with a watery eye. I was fit and healthy, had a good diet and played squash for the county so I didn’t think it would be anything serious. It was a shock to be diagnosed with a facial cancer. As the disease progressed over time, I had 29 operations, 2 lots of radiotherapy and 2 lots of chemotherapy. I went from someone who was able to rehabilitate people in my job as a physiotherapist to someone who needed rehabilitating himself.
By 2017 my cancer had spread to my neck and I was offered palliative care. I wanted to do all I could to keep cancer at bay and to feel as well as I could. That’s when I turned to Maggie’s, encouraged by my clinical nurse specialist at the hospital. I was very nicely received in the centre and found a sanctuary where I could sit quietly. Maggie’s Manchester is like a combination of cathedral, home, greenhouse and art gallery – it is a space that’s beneficial for your soul. At Maggie’s, they encourage you to make lifestyle changes the effects of which are impossible to quantify.
I would like to encourage other men, and women, to go to Maggie’s and that’s why I decided to do a Maggie’s to Maggie’s with a difference – visiting all the centres. It should take 17 days to cover 1,100 miles, starting in Swansea and finishing in Inverness. I’m aiming to average 65 miles a day, cycling on my own but will have friends joining me for a leg or two at a time. My bike will have extra mirrors to make up for the partial loss of hearing in one ear and the loss of sight in one eye.
I’m really looking forward to visiting all the Maggie’s centres. I’ve seen pictures of all of them of course but actually going to them and meeting the people who use them is something that will keep me going.
Graeme, Maggie's to Maggie's participant