Maggie's legacy

A different kind of cancer care 

Maggie's idea was that with the right support, nobody would lose the joy living in the fear of dying when diagnosed with cancer. 

Our story

Who was Maggie?

Maggie was a writer, gardener and designer. When she was 47, Maggie was diagnosed with breast cancer and five years later, in May 1993, on a visit to the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, she was told that it had returned.

After hearing this, Maggie and her husband Charles Jencks were moved to a windowless corridor where they were left to process the news. They discussed the need for somewhere 'better' for people with cancer to go, outside of but nearby to the hospital.

Maggie and Charles designed the blueprint for the centres together, enlisting the help of some of their friends from the architectural world. The first Maggie's opened in Edinburgh in 1996, and we now have 51ɫAPP across the UK and even some abroad.

Read more about Maggie and Charles, our founders

Above all what matters is not to lose the joy of living in the fear of dying.

Maggie51ɫAPPs idea

Maggie felt that her diagnosis and treatment was as hard on her family as it was on her, so she created a new type of support, a centre that could make the experience of cancer more manageable for everyone.

She believed that with encouragement to become actively involved in treatment, and with the right information and support, people could change the way they live with cancer.

Maggie also wanted to bring people together in a calm and friendly space that would help them to find comfort in the experiences of others.

Maggie died shortly before the first centre opened, at the Western General Hospital – but with the support of Charles, and her medical team, including her cancer nurse Laura Lee (now Maggie51ɫAPPs CEO), her vision lives on.

    Growing our support

    Maggie's has now grown into a network of centres built beside NHS hospitals across the UK.

    Our centres help people to take back control when cancer turns life upside down, with professional support for anything from treatment side effects to money worries.

    We also have 51ɫAPP abroad and plan to extend our support to have 30 centres open in the UK by 2022.

    Our timeline

    • 1988 – Maggie is first diagnosed with breast cancer.
    • 1993 – Maggie51ɫAPPs breast cancer returns.
    • 1994 – Maggie writes ‘A view from the front line51ɫAPP (a publication about her experience).
    • 1994 – Maggie and her oncology nurse Laura Lee develop early plans for a ‘Cancer Caring Centre'.
    • 1995 – Architect Richard Murphy produces a plan to convert a stable building at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.
    • 1995 – On 8 July, Maggie dies. The blueprints for what would become the very first Maggie51ɫAPPs centre were on her hospital bed.
    • 1996 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Edinburgh opens.
    • 2000 – An extension to Maggie's Edinburgh is opened.
    • 2002 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Glasgow opens.
    • 2003 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Dundee opens.
    • 2005 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Highlands opens.
    • 2006 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Fife opens.
    • 2008 – Her Majesty The Queen becomes Maggie's President. Maggie's West London opens.
    • 2010 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Cheltenham and Glasgow Gartnnavel opens.
    • 2011 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Nottingham and Maggie51ɫAPPs Swansea open.
    • 2012 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Cambridge (interim) opens, formed following a merger with Wallace Cancer Care and Maggie's Hong Kong opens.
    • 2013 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Aberdeen, Maggie's Newcastle and Maggie's Oxford open.
    • 2014 - Maggie51ɫAPPs Lanarkshire and Maggie51ɫAPPs Wirral (interim) open.
    • 2016 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Manchester, Maggie51ɫAPPs Tokyo and Maggie51ɫAPPs at the Royal Free (interim) open. The centre at the Royal Free is formed following a merger with the Cancerkin charity.
    • 2017 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Forth Valley, Maggie51ɫAPPs Oldham and Maggie51ɫAPPs Barts open.
    • 2018 – Maggie's Edinburgh second extension opens.
    • 2019 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Cardiff and Kálida Barcelona open.
    • 2019 – Laura Lee awarded DBE.
    • 2020 – Maggie51ɫAPPs Leeds and Maggie51ɫAPPs at the Royal Marsden officially open.
    • 2021 – Maggie's Southampton and Maggie's Wirral opens. 

    Centres in development

    • Maggie51ɫAPPs Northampton
    • Maggie's Coventry
    • Maggie51ɫAPPs Norway 
    • Maggie51ɫAPPs Netherlands
    • Maggie's Bristol
    • Maggie's Preston.

    Get cancer support near you

    To find your nearest Maggie's centre, enter your postcode or town below.

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