One of the Yorkshire Rows – the group of mums who broke the record for the oldest female crew ever to cross an ocean – has spoken about how a Maggie’s cancer centre would have helped her late father.
Helen Butters joined friends Janette Benaddi, Niki Doeg and Frances Davies to last year complete the 3,000-mile trans-Atlantic trip from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the West Indies in 67 days.
The record-breakers have raised around £100,000 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Maggie’s with the challenge and selling the boat they sailed in.
But they continue to raise awareness of the charity and want to help it get the £5m needed for a centre to be built next to St James’s Hospital.
Mrs Butters’s father Bob Dargan died 10 years ago after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just six months before.
She said: “When he got really ill and he was at home and days away from death, we didn’t know what to do.”
Information about centres such as the ones Maggie’s provide – warm and welcoming, where patients and families affected by their experiences can speak to each other – was not available at the time.
“It could have been completely different experience,” she said.
Speaking about the centre, NHS communications worker Mrs Butters, 46, said they have rooms that are like your “best friend’s kitchen”.
She said: “Families and cancer patients can all talk to each other. That’s the most powerful thing.”
The YEP launched its Million for Maggie’s campaign last year.