Leeds writer and producer Kay Mellor has lent her backing to a campaign to fund a £6.5m centre for cancer patients and their families in Leeds.
Ms Mellor, creator of Fat Friends and Band of Gold, has spoken of how her own family has been touched by cancer as she became the face of the ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign to kickstart the final push to raise £300,000 for Maggie’s Yorkshire.
The centre, the first in the county and serving cancer patients and families from afar as Sheffield to Scarborough, is being built in the grounds of St James’s University Hospital, Leeds, to complement the clinical care given to what is expected to be 30,000 people per year. People can donate from £25 to £10,000 to sponsor a brick. Construction started in January and the centre is expected to open next year.
Ms Mellor told the Yorkshire Evening Post she was thrilled to be involved.
She said: “I lost my brother to cancer which was sad, he was in his early 60s but I think most people these days have been touched by cancer in one way or another. We all need support, not only treatment, but support as a whole family and it would be a wonderful facility here in Leeds. It thrills me to know we will have it here on our doorstep.”
The centre, in the pipeline for almost a decade, will provide psychological support and focus on emotional wellbeing with activities such as yoga, nutrition, gardening and art as well as benefits and legal advice.
Ms Mellor said: “It can be a terrible shock to somebody knowing they have cancer and instead of living, they worry about these details and that must be a terrible thing. A centre that helps them enjoy the life they have left must be an invaluable thing. My brother told me that when he had been diagnosed suddenly everything seemed more acute - like seeing the first daffodil of the spring - it must be so important to enjoy that.”
Ms Mellor is inundated with requests to support campaigns but it was the little things like this that made her want to back the Maggie’s appeal.
She added: “The Yorkshire Evening Post has been incredible with the ‘A million for Maggie’s’ appeal and it makes me so proud to be part of this latest initiative.”
The YEP launched its ambitious A Million for Maggie’s campaign in April 2016, which urged readers to help the charity raise £1m for the Yorkshire centre. It is now £300,000 off that target. The Maggie’s charity was founded by and named after the late Maggie Keswick Jencks, who died of cancer in 1995. In May 1993, she was told that her breast cancer had returned and was given two to three months to live. She joined an advanced chemotherapy trial and lived for another 18 months. During that time, she and her husband Charles Jencks worked closely with her medical team to develop a new approach to cancer care.
To Buy A Brick, send a cheque payable to Maggie’s Centre, along with your name, address, the dedication and the amount donated to: Maggie’s, The Gatehouse, 10 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, G11 6PA.
Alternatively, visit www.maggiesyorkshirebuyabrick.com