Maggie’s Centre Midlothian fundraiser nets £11k

Friday December 14th 2018

Maggie's Centre

Carol Robinson, left, and Karen Hilton with the Maggie’s Centre cheque presented at the Sun Inn

Two Midlothian women who have benefitted from the Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh decided to raise funds for the centre and netted a staggering £11,455. This is on top of the £9,084 they raised last year.

Karen Hilton and Carol Robinson first met in the Maggie’s centre in Edinburgh. Their friendship blossomed from a diagnosis of breast cancer back in June 2016.

Karen was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of cancer. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is commonly linked with the BRCA1 gene (as highly publicised by Angelina Jolie) which means that there is a higher risk of cancer returning in the other breast and also in the ovaries.

Due to this link she was sent for genetic testing where she found out that she carried the mutated BRCA1 gene. This then determined the course of treatment required to reduce the risk of reoccurrence.

During this time Carol had also found a lump, been through all the tests and was diagnosed with an estrogen receptive breast cancer and she too had to embark on a treatment schedule of chemo, surgery and radiotherapy.

At the beginning of chemotherapy both Karen and Carol attended the “Look Good Feel Good” Maggie’s course, which teaches women with cancer how to manage some of the visible side effects of treatment and introduces some simple techniques that can help you feel more confident about your changed appearance.

It wasn’t until after chemotherapy and surgery and while going through radiotherapy that Karen and Carol crossed paths for a second time and when Karen mentioned the “Where Now” course, which they both promptly registered for.

On completion of radiotherapy they returned to the Maggies’s centre to embark on the 6 week course, where both found the services offered by Maggie’s to be invaluable. The course helps you manage the physical, emotional and practical issues you may face following your treatment.

The course led by a Clinical Psychologist covers topics such as: exercise, nutrition, emotional well-being, managing post treatment challenges, partnering with your medical team and keeping up momentum.

A huge benefit of the course is also meeting up with others who have been through a similar cancer journey, allowing you to openly discuss any concerns, share thoughts and realise that you are not alone in the way that you feel and that your fears are perfectly natural and common. It’s not all serious and there are plenty of laughs as well, especially when it comes to the exercise session of the class!

Towards the end of the “Where Now” course Carol suggested hosting a “Maggie’s kitchen table day” in her house to raise some money for Maggie’s but she soon realised that due to demand a bigger venue would be required. So, last year the girl’s with a strong team of friends helped successfully organise a fundraising night for Maggie’s at the Sun Inn and raised a fabulous £9,084.54.

Unfortunately shortly after last year’s event Karen found out that her cancer had returned and she embarked on another 6 months of chemo followed by a couple of surgeries. In March this year she got the all clear yet again. However, the all clear was short lived and by August her cancer had returned for a 3rd time and unfortunately this time it was metastatic (treatable but not curable). She is now currently going through chemo for a 3rd time and hopes to transfer onto a drug or a trial at the end of chemo to try and stop the cancer from growing.

Given her recent diagnosis, Karen, Alistair her partner and family have all recently benefited from speaking to Andy Anderson (Centre Head of Maggie’s Edinburgh). Andy gave some great advice and a lot of hope to Karen’s family.

Karen, Carol and their amazing team (Arlene Bryen, Adrienne Allen and Sarah McKiernan) all agreed to organise another fundraiser this year, and due to the success of last year’s event the tickets all sold out within a few hours, with most ladies returning from last year.

The format, similar to last year, started with a few pre filmed videos, a delicious dinner, a flash mob of dancers (from the KIC dance coy), an auction, raffle and band.

Again, many local businesses kindly contributed auction and raffle prizes. The theme for the evening was Abba, “Maggie’s Mia – Here we go again!”, with the girls having secretly filmed an Abba dance routine, all fantastically choreographed by the KIC dance company.

All 100 women had an amazing time and the evening is still being talked about now.

There was a very special surprise video shown at the beginning of the evening, organised by friends and family of Karen. Not only had Karen’s friends and family left some very special messages but they had also managed to get video clips from: Mark Beaumont, Kirsty Wark, Fred MacAulay, Ann Budge, Boogie & Arlene, Chris Hoy, Roland Mouret and Joanna Lumley – all saying some lovely words of encouragement for Karen along with confirmation of the amazing service that Maggie’s provides.

The girls raised a staggering £11,455.50 from this year’s event and presented the cheque to Maggie’s Edinburgh.

Maggie’s Centres are very special places where people with cancer, their family, friends and carers can receive free emotional and psychological support.

The centres are homely, welcoming places where people affected by cancer can go to talk to their specialists and use a wide variety of support services designed to empower people to live positively with cancer. Maggie’s rely totally on voluntary donations both for its capital costs and its on-going running costs and are therefore grateful for any support.

Any support that you are able to offer, no matter how small or large is greatly appreciated.

You can find out more about the Maggie’s Centre HERE and you can donate HERE.

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