I’d been given a leaflet about Maggie’s and although Andrew wasn’t initially keen, I enticed him over with the prospect of tea and cake.
As soon as we walked in, I felt really emotional; it felt and looked amazing.
Andrew talked with the Maggie’s team and we both felt that we were going to make the most of our lives despite cancer.
Spending time around the kitchen table was particularly helpful; speaking to people in a similar situation was so much easier than burdening family and friends. Andrew came three times a week: to the Creative Writing group on Monday, Relaxation on Wednesday and Art on Friday, and he would volunteer in the garden too.
The camaraderie of the Creative Writing group just kept him going and he would sometimes write in the middle of the night if he couldn’t sleep.
A couple of months before he died, he wrote a poem called ‘The Heron’ which was read at his funeral.
Even in hospital he was in contact with the group by WhatsApp, and Maggie’s staff helped them watch his funeral on a live stream in the centre.
Maggie’s is still there for me
Andrew died on 25 of August 2020. After he died it was a really difficult time for me.
It felt wrong to come into Maggie’s without Andrew but I did eventually visit. I cried as soon as I came in and after a cup of tea and a chat, I knew Maggie’s was still here for me.
Since then, I’ve spoken to Robin, the Centre Head, and plan to take part in the bereavement support course.
I will always pop into Maggie’s. It was such a huge part of both of our lives for three years.
Continuing our fundraising
Fundraising for me was always very therapeutic.
Andrew and I always organised fun things and knowing we were also supporting Maggie’s gave us a good feeling.
Andrew was keen to do something physically challenging. He had said that if he could still walk after his operation he would climb Kinder Scout.
A year to the day following surgery he did just that, with more than 30 friends and family, raising thousands of pounds for Maggie’s. The sea of orange t-shirts on the summit was amazing. It was a great day and is such a wonderful memory.
I have cried many tears but also smiled enormous bittersweet smiles hearing Andrew’s family and friends tell their fond and funny (and often inappropriate!) memories of him.
It’s why we set up the online Tribute page. People have shared their favourite photos, memories, even lighting a virtual candle on the page.
Whilst Andrew was alive, we raised about £8,500 and I’ve been able to carry on that legacy, raising another £2,300 for Maggie’s.
I’ve also recently been working at my local vaccination centre. Instead of paying me, they donate £50 to Andrew’s Tribute page for every shift I work. I’m incredibly grateful.
Maggie’s made the last three years brighter and much easier for us all to deal with and I know that the money we’ve raised will mean they can be there to support other families who lose someone they love.
Set up a tribute page
A Tribute page is a special place online where you, your family and friends can remember someone special, and raise money in their name.
This story was originally published in Making Maggie's May 2021 edition.