Supporter living with cancer takes on Maggie’s Challenge to support people living with cancer

This month, cancer charity Maggie’s Merseyside is encouraging people to walk 12,000 steps a day to help them support the 1 in 2 people who will get cancer in their lifetime.

As more people live longer with cancer, charity Maggie’s Merseyside is seeing an increasing need for practical and emotional support to help people cope with the changes that cancer brings. Maggie’s Merseyside offers free support and advice on living well with cancer. This includes ensuring that people with cancer in the region are really listened to, that they are offered tailored individual support, group support and practical advice. All of which is delivered by qualified professionals in a comfortable setting that enables people to meet others who understand what it means to be living with cancer too.

Maggie’s centre visitor Glyn Salmon said: “I’ve had cancer twice, the first time I underwent Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. Sadly, within two years the cancer returned which cumulated in a series of operations, which left me in chronic pain and with a permanent stoma. Of course, going through this process there’s so much TLC from doctors, nurses, consultants, everybody just wants to look after you and guide you through. Then you’re sent home and there’s a big void. I’d always been an active man and involved in sport all my life. There I was at home and not being able to share real issues that I had and needed to talk about. I felt like having this stoma was like a boil on my face and being in chronic pain and not being able to sit down stopped me from going out. So, I spoke to someone who asked if I’d tried talking to the people at Maggie’s. But I’d never heard of Maggie’s before.

So I went along to Maggie’s Merseyside and from the moment I walked in I fell in love with the place. I was met with a wonderful smile and welcome. Kathy the centre manager sat me down and I felt so at ease, I started sharing my feelings and I just felt I was being listened to and that somebody was understanding what I was going through. Did I cry? Yes I did, Did I laugh? You bet I did. But I left feeling like I’d been adopted by a family that genuinely cared for me and what I was facing.

They encouraged me to get out, obviously I couldn’t do the things I’d always enjoyed like cycling, so I bought myself a recumbent trike. I started building myself up and I eventually fulfilled a lifelong dream by cycling on the trike up the Stelvio Pass in Italy and when I got to the top, I called the team at Maggie’s, they cried tears of joy and I did too. I think the tears were still rolling down my face as I was rolling back down the mountain on my way to the hotel. It was a fabulous and unforgettable moment.

I now volunteer at Maggie’s Merseyside, greeting people with that smile I was shown in my early days, because I wanted to give something back as it’s a wonderful place. Seeing the full-time staff and how they work, they are very special and gifted people. They have an art of being able to listen to people, giving advice, sharing experiences and knowledge. They impar this invisible hug that says its ok, we’re here to help you.

My treatment has continued and just as the pandemic lockdown began I was able after 5 years to get back on my bike and cycle. I was talking to the fundraising team at Maggie’s and decided I’d take on their ‘Miles for Maggie’s’, a virtual cycling and walking challenge. Maggie’s need as much fundraising support they can possibly get as it’s so important that people have somewhere they can go and receive this incredible cup of warmth that they give, the Maggie’s hug they give and know and feel they can go somewhere and someone someone is always listening.”

All of the money raised through the Miles for Maggie’s challenge will make sure Maggie’s Merseyside can continue to provide free, professional support to all those living with cancer who need it, as well as their family and friends.

Do 12,000 steps a day for a month and help us support the 1 in 2 people who will get cancer in their lifetime. Register now and get a free t-shirt

Built in the grounds of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Wirral, Maggie’s Merseyside is a warm and welcoming place, with qualified professionals on hand to offer an evidence-based core programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing.

Maggie’s Merseyside relies on voluntary donations to develop its unique, high quality programme of support. The charity’s aim is to make the biggest difference possible to people living with cancer and their family and friends.

To find out more about Maggie’s Merseyside and to see how the Centre supports people living with cancer across Wirral, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales please visit the Centre at Clatterbridge or get in touch on 01513344301 .