Peter and Alison’s story – having Maggie's there has been a lifeline

Wednesday 05 January 2022

Maggie's Edinburgh

Years after Alison was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Maggie’s supported her and her husband as they dealt with the long-term effects of the cancer treatment. Support sessions at Maggie's Edinburgh has given Peter the opportunity to talk and reflect.


Alison and I met back in 1974, when we were in our early twenties, just as she was finishing rounds of chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. 

At the time, no one was sure what the outlook would be, and whether she could be considered ‘cured’. We began our happy life together, but over time the consequences of her treatment became life-changing for both of us.

Alison’s treatment had left her infertile, but we went on to adopt our two wonderful sons, Chris and Jonathan.

In the early years after treatment, Alison was still able to exercise, but as time went on we both realised the long-term effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy were catching up with her.

She developed lung fibrosis, a heart murmur, lost muscle strength and became increasingly fatigued.

She was forced to take early retirement and then I retired shortly afterwards to become her full-time carer.

Finding Maggie's 

It wasn’t until more recently that someone recommended Maggie’s to us.

We got in touch with Andy at Maggie’s Edinburgh and he reassured us that he could still offer support despite Alison’s diagnosis being so long ago.

We were blown away by the supportive atmosphere on our first visit there.

Over the next four years, Maggie’s gave Alison and me the most amazing support, both practically and emotionally.

No other charity caters for patients and their relatives who are grappling with the late effects of treatment. But at Maggie’s, we have been welcomed in with open arms.

Both of us felt like we couldn’t talk in any detail about our situation with friends and family – we were worried about boring them or frightening them off completely.

But together we attended the haematology support group at Maggie’s, and it was invaluable for us to have a forum where we could speak openly with others who understood. It gave us not only support, but friendship too.

Help with money worries 

Anne, the Benefits Advisor at Maggie’s, even helped Alison to complete an application for Personal Independence Payments.

We’d been worried about it as we’d heard so many stories about people being refused. But Anne was so helpful in filling in the form for us. She was assertive in the best possible way in recording how Alison’s disabilities affected her life, and the application went through without a hitch.

Alison died in June 2020. Her death has left an indescribable hole in my life, especially since, as well as being soulmates for so many years, I was also caring for her.

Talking to Maggie's

There’s not necessarily anyone else I can talk to about Alison’s death, so having Maggie’s there has been a lifeline.

Things will happen that just bring it all back and I’m in floods of tears.

Having one-to-one support sessions with Andy has given me a space to reflect on these feelings, which has been wonderful.

Alison was, and I am still, so grateful to Maggie’s for their support.

We’ve received such acceptance in discussing all of the issues that have affected us over the years and I feel indebted to Maggie’s for the ongoing support I’m receiving after Alison’s death.

Help support more people like Peter and Alison

You are helping provide support for people living with the long-term effects of cancer treatment, like Peter and Alison.

Will you make a donation today to help support even more people living with cancer?

Here with you

If you, your family or friends need support during this time, please call us on 0300 123 180, email or book a time to visit us.

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