Rubina's story – finding my inner strength

Thursday 09 December 2021

Maggie's Dundee

Maggie's helped Rubina to realise her own strength and resilience after her diagnosis. She's now passionate about building awareness of the support Maggie's provides, particularly amongst the South Asian community.

Diagnosed with bowel cancer

I was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer in 2012. It was the darkest time in my life.   

As I was diagnosed over Christmas there was a wait for my surgery, so I had to have a stent inserted in the meantime.

Unfortunately, my stent perforated and so my tumour leaked, and I had to have emergency surgery. Because it was an emergency, they couldn’t tell me in advance about what was going to happen to me.

When I woke up, I was told that I had a stoma bag. That was really scary and a real shock. I wasn’t mentally prepared for it at all. 

A cancer diagnosis can be really overwhelming and the amount of information you get in a short time is far too much to process. I didn’t find out about Maggie’s until I was having chemotherapy and another patient on the ward told me about the centre.

Visiting Maggie’s

Maggie’s became my second home during that time. My family were so supportive, but my husband had to spend a lot of time away working during my treatment and our eldest son had moved to Yorkshire after graduating. So often it was just me and our younger son, who was in his late teens.

It was very emotionally challenging. Because he was quite young, I still had to be the mum and be really strong for him. Maggie’s was the place where I could go to show my vulnerable side. 

"At home I had to be brave, but at Maggie’s I could show my vulnerable side."

Maggie's helped me emotionally and practically

The courses at Maggie’s offer all kinds of practical and emotional support. Chemo destroyed my health, so initially the only thing I could manage was the relaxation classes, and I found them so helpful.

I went on to do the mindfulness course as well, which was a game changer for me. I found it extremely helpful to be aware of my own feelings at that time, and it helped me to stay focused.

The yoga classes at Maggie’s also helped with controlling my anxiety and staying calm. Later on, I joined the Where Now? course, which helped me to move on with my life after cancer. 

I want to let people know that they can come to Maggie’s and find support and make their lives a bit more comfortable during a cancer diagnosis.

Cancer and the South Asian community 

I was brought up in Pakistan but my husband did his post-grad in the UK and we settled in Scotland, which we love.

I’m really passionate about ensuring that people within the Asian community, who often think of cancer as a death warrant, can access services like Maggie’s.

Asian families normally rely on family support and they are less aware of support services like Maggie’s, that are available to them. So I’m spreading the word. 

Finding my inner strength

Cancer has made me a stronger person. We don’t know our inner powers until we are in that situation. The courses that Maggie’s offer helped me to realise my own resilience and gave me the tools to finding my inner strength. 

I am amazed at how resilient I am and how strong I can be.

I wish that everybody could be told about Maggie’s as soon as they are diagnosed.

I am passionate about creating awareness about the wonderful services Maggie’s offers and making sure that everybody with a cancer diagnosis knows about the amazing support available to them. 

My friends, family and I are committed to fundraising for Maggie’s. It’s really close to my heart and I want to ensure that Maggie’s remains open for everybody who needs it.

We're here for 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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