Week 47 - Maggie's
I can't think of a better way to round off my last visit with the Nicest Job in Britain than with Maggie's; spending my week drinking tea, eating cake and talking with cancer patients in the run up to Christmas.
It’s a bittersweet week for me, having reached an incredible milestone of 45 charities but also knowing that I won't be doing this anymore. So I am doing my best to soak up as much of my last visit as I possibly can.
Maggie's centre Oxford is based just to the side of the main hospital in a purpose built, award-winning building. Designed to be just like a home, it has a warm and relaxing feeling just yards from the main hospital block.
As you walk in, you are personally greeted by one of the staff or volunteers. To your right is the office, but to the left is the kitchen; the heart and soul of the centre where people gather to drink tea, eat cake and devour biscuits. Just opposite is a small living room area with a stunning fireplace. Down the narrow corridor to the left are 3 rooms, designed to calm and relax people in need of a more personal chat. Then behind the kitchen is the main room - with stunning views over the field and enough space for Yoga and Thai Chi.
It really could not be further from the stark corridors of the hospital and the perfect escape when you are in need of some home comforts.
See the people that come here have cancer, or know somebody with cancer; that ravaging disease which rips through your body. Lots of people I met this week were in between radio or chemotherapy appointments. Popping in to have a chat before and after their appointments. There were also on the odd occasions people popping in who had been recently diagnosed. Whether they were returning visitors or coming into the centre for the first time, they were all treated with the same warm welcome and a hot drink.
I never knew places like Maggie's existed and to be honest it’s a God-send. A lifeline to people going through one of the hardest times of their life; but a place that offers friendship and a place to come and be themselves. Each person who walks through the doors of Maggie's Oxford can leave their armour and shield at the door and just be themselves; knowing that nobody will judge them, question them or even look at them in a peculiar way. They are there because they want to be there.
I really can't think of a better way to end my Nicest Job journey. Spending my week making copious amounts of tea and eating more biscuits than I will need until after Christmas. But knowing that with each person that walked through the door was somebody who needed a warm welcome and a chat.
It’s a bittersweet blog for me today, because this officially marks the end of my travels around the country. Thinking about it on the way home from Maggie's was one of many emotions.
My final blog of the year will be published next Monday and I have tried to encapsulate how this year has changed me as a person. There have been so many incredible moments along the way; too many to quickly type here, but my hope is that next week you have a little glimpse into my thoughts on the Nicest Job in Britain.
(Images courtesy of Maggie's Oxford)