Ernest’s story – Maggie's was there for me and my children

Friday 17 December 2021

Maggie's Nottingham

Faced with the loss of his wife Aga, Ernest was left to raise their young sons on his own. He comes to Maggie’s every Friday, and they join him. It was a place their mother loved.

It’s hard to find the words for how Maggie’s has helped me and my family.

It was my life in whole aspects – emotion, money, insurance and safety – that Maggie’s gave.

It’s not just the building, it’s the staff as well.


My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Both our boys were at the time quite young.

Her cancer developed – we had scans and clinics, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, in and out of the hospital – but Maggie’s was always there.

She was called Aga, short for Agnieszki. We are both from Poland, but we met in the UK, here in Nottingham. We started a family, and had such a beautiful time together.

She was amazing, everything a mum and wife should be. Aga was loving, warm, caring and devoted to her boys.

We didn’t have family living locally, so her cancer was something that we had to manage with by ourselves.

Losing Aga

She was only ill for one year.

She used to visit Maggie’s a lot, and always loved it.

Whenever she was having treatment, whenever she needed to go to the hospital, there was always time to pop in for a cup of tea, and meet people there.

When she lost her hair during chemotherapy, Maggie’s was the place to go.

And it’s where she met other people who were going through the same thing: that helped hugely.

I think I tried to hide my emotions within myself. I needed to be strong for the three of them.

Particularly when Aga was poorly, I didn’t want to add my emotions to the pot.

Her illness progressed so quickly that we were still applying for drugs in other countries, and had actually just had approval for her to join a trial, before she became too ill to take it.

Her palliative care started after that. One day she had the scan, and the next day she couldn’t stand up straight. There were no words to describe that time.

She passed away on 21 December 2019.

There we were, dealing with such a difficult loss, right before Christmas.

Parenting through grief

Without me knowing, Maggie’s arranged a hamper for us. It had everything we might need for the Christmas period, all bundled together, and given to us.

I can’t say how much that meant. From that moment on, I knew I’d always be incredibly appreciative of Maggie’s.

Since then, I’ve done lots of fundraising for Maggie’s.

More recently, I took part in the Run 50 challenge, which was great, but even going back we donated the funds raised from Aga’s funeral’s flowers to Maggie’s as well.

Support for all the family

As a father, you’re always likely to worry about your boys. It’s been two years now, and the boys are 9 and 6. 

I worry I might be missing something that might be affecting them – support from Maggie’s has really helped me with this.

We always go to Maggie’s together, once a week. The boys will play toys and talk to some of the staff, and it gives me the opportunity to speak to the team, and check in with myself.

Even during lockdown, I was there at Maggie’s, once a week.

Especially for me having been born overseas, with English as my second language, I can find more barriers than other people.

But Maggie’s doesn’t discriminate: they help and they listen and they understand.

For me, there’s been so much– emotional support, benefits advice, crucial help with life insurance – but I’m always struck by that simple hamper.

I still find it unbelievable.

Here with you

If you or someone you love has cancer, we are here with you. 

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

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