Barts women's breast cancer group story

Tuesday 12 October 2021

Maggie's Barts – London

Katy, Clare, Abi, Charley and Heidi and their partners have been able to find comfort in each other as they continue treatment for their advanced triple-negative breast cancer.

Cancer and coronavirus

The difficulty of knowing we have a life-limiting condition can leave us with a great deal of uncertainty and fear, which was compounded because of coronavirus.

It was frustrating not being able to do the things we wanted to do, especially as we are aware that time is not on our side.

At so many times, it’s felt like a crushing blow. 

The last year and a half of restrictions, and all the implications for the clinically vulnerable, have brought struggles to everyone.

What’s that meant for us though is we’ve had less support from our immediate friends than usual – and understandably, because they’ve been dealing with so much.

We've been finding ourselves jealous of other people’s problems, wishing we were dealing with a job loss instead of cancer.  

Cancer is a bomb in every single relationship, no matter how close that relationship may be.

Peer support

We are the only ones who know what it’s like, as it’s us going through it.

No one else knows really what’s going on or how it feels.

You can be in a room full of people, full of conversation and feel so isolated – it is hard to connect with people who don’t understand and who also don’t know how to react.

People are in one universe and cancer takes you to another universe.

Everyone else’s lives are moving forward; they are meeting up and doing things when they are able to. However, we find ourselves now being left out of friendship groups and not being asked to go out with friends anymore because we're shielding.

Our lives feel cheated watching everyone continue on.

Maggie’s for us 

Maggie’s make our days easy and adds the human element back into our lives, along with friends who understand. 

Maggie’s has enabled all of us to meet and create these cancer friendships and be with others who do understand.

Parents, family and friends haven’t been able to come and be with you in the hospital.

Without Maggie’s, our days would be so lonely.

It is like a home from home environment, friendly faces who welcome you as you walk by the kitchen – and that really lifts your spirits.

The calm environment means that I am able to work whilst I wait. 

In Maggie’s, I’m not getting frustrated sitting watching time go by; instead, I am relaxed.

It is great to also speak with the other partners as we can confide in each other about looking after their partners and children, and also the loneliness and isolation that cancer brings as it is one of the biggest problems. 

In here, it doesn’t doesn’t feel clinical.

You could be in a nice café; we were up on the roof terrace in the summer but really it felt like you could be on a villa in Spain looking over the city.

We're here for you

If you or someone you love has cancer, Maggie's is with you. 

Come and see us at your nearest Maggie’s, call us on 0300 123 180 or email us at

Last review: Jun 2023 | Next review: Jan 2024

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