Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre
The Maggie's permanent centre at Tuen Mun Hospital opened on 7 March 2013. The centre was designed by Frank Gehry, a good friend of the founder, Maggie Keswick Jencks, and landscaped by her daughter, Lily Jencks. Surrounded by trees and gardens, the building provides a quiet, comfortable environment where people with cancer and their families may find support and solace. Free activities, such as relaxation programmes, Chinese nutrition classes, nutrition workshops, Tai Chi classes,Yoga classes and management of treatment side effects classes, are provided for the people in need.
Maggie, a mother of two, a writer, a garden designer and a philanthropist, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988, at the age of 47. Five years later the cancer returned. She died in 1995. Maggie had been involved in the planning of her treatment from the start. After her cancer came back, she determined to create a welcoming space away from the setting of the hospital, staffed by professionals with the time to listen, counsel and advice, where people with cancer, their families and friends could go for support. Maggie also realised it would be beneficial to all patients to be actively involved in the treatment process, The first centre opened in 1996 in Edinburgh where Maggie was treated. She did not live to see it quite finished but she was involved every step of the way until her death.
There are now 20 Maggie's Centres in the United Kingdom, all of which have been designed by world-renowned architects, such as Frank Gehry, Richard Rogers and Zaha Hadid. All are located next to the oncology units of major cancer hospitals and are easily accessible. These centres are designed to make visitors feel welcome and at home. As one architect said, “The building should 'hug' a person.”
It is befitting that the Keswick Foundation has brought to Hong Kong the first Maggie's Centre outside the United Kingdom since KF was set up by Maggie and her father, Sir John Keswick, in 1979. Having spent a considerable part of her life in Hong Kong, Maggie had a deep love for the place and its people. Maggie's vision continues to guide both the KF and the Maggie's Centres.