WHAT a difference a few weeks can make.
Our Buy a Brick appeal to fund an extension for the Edinburgh Maggie’s Centre is off to a flying start with an extraordinary £35,000 pledged in the first fortnight.
Charity leaders have been astounded by the response from readers, which has seen cheques for £5 to £500 pouring in to secure a brighter future for Lothian cancer patients.
The Evening News has joined forces with city fundraiser Lisa Stephenson and Maggie’s for the appeal, which aims to raise £750,000 to extend the charity’s centre at the Western General Hospital.
Maggie’s offers a special kind of service, providing vital emotional and practical support for cancer patients through their battles with the disease.
Since it was established in 1996, the Edinburgh Maggie’s Centre has welcomed more than 420,000 visitors seeking support beyond their medical care.
Now the charity plans to build a £1.2 million extension to allow it to see an additional 5,000 patients a year.
Lisa, of Ravelston, is leading the charge to secure the future of the much-loved service, which offered her invaluable support after her diagnosis with myeloma in 2011.
The mum-of-two has used her background in marketing to organise a host of charity events, including a glamorous ‘Glitteratea’ on Sunday, which raised a whopping £19,000 for the appeal.
More than 300 ladies attended the afternoon tea extravaganza at the Sheraton Hotel, which included a fashion show where cancer survivors and oncology nurses strutted their stuff down the catwalk.
Indomitable Lisa, 47, persuaded top French fashion director Patrick Cabasset to fly in from Paris to share his expertise and A-list make up artist Damian Garrozzo to give make up tutorials at Maggie’s.
Andrew Anderson, Maggie’s Edinburgh centre head, said: “I am astounded by the response we have had to the Edinburgh Evening News Buy a Brick campaign.
“Lisa, her experience and her willingness to support us is remarkable. Everyone at Maggie’s Edinburgh has been overwhelmed by the interest and support from the wider Edinburgh Evening News reading public.
“We still have a long way to go but the campaign is shaping up to be a tremendous success and I can’t wait to welcome many more people to our newly extended centre when it is ready.
“I will certainly be telling them all about the fantastic efforts of the Edinburgh Evening News readers.”
The first centre was the brainchild of Maggie Keswick Jencks, who was inspired to act after being left to process a terminal cancer diagnosis in a hospital corridor.
The celebrated landscape architect came up with plans to turn a former stable into a cancer centre but she sadly died before her dreams were realised.
Top city architect Richard Murphy has come up with plans for the extension, which will include three new rooms and extensive garden remodelling.