OUR appeal to build a much-needed extension for the Edinburgh Maggie’s Centre has received a major lift after a glamorous event boosted the coffers by nearly £4,000.
High-flying businesswoman Kai Murray took over the upmarket ROX Edinburgh jewellery boutique for a fundraising event earlier this month, where more than 60 ladies enjoyed canapes, cocktails and beauty treatments to drum up funds for the cancer charity.
The 54-year-old was inspired to help Maggie’s after witnessing how much the centre helped her close friend Lisa Stephenson after she was diagnosed with incurable cancer in 2011.
Despite her gruelling treatment and poor prognosis, Lisa has thrown herself into fundraising for Maggie’s, using her background as a top businesswoman to raise more than £700,000 through a non-stop whirlwind of high teas, glamorous balls and exercise challenges.
The determined mother-of-two, from Ravelston, joined forced with the Evening News and Maggie’s for the Buy a Brick appeal, which aims to build an extension for the centre at the Western General Hospital.
For the last 20 years Maggie’s has provided emotional and practical support for more than 420,000 cancer patients and their families, offering a safe haven from relentless hospital visits.
Lisa and Kai became friends nearly 10 years ago when they met at a networking event, so when Lisa was diagnosed with myeloma, Kai knew she had to help.
Kai said: “I found Lisa so inspiring in the way she managed her illness that I knew I had to get involved.
“Maggie’s doesn’t save lives but it does in a way, as Lisa always says she wasn’t supposed to be alive after five years.”
Kai balanced her role as a senior business consultant at Shirlaws Coaching with work on the fundraising board of Maggie’s Edinburgh, hosting major events for the centre.
Many of the businesses involved in the latest event at the George Street retailer were so moved by hearing about Maggie’s from Lisa and Kai that they waived their fees.
Kai, who lives in Craiglockhart, said: “When Lisa gave her speech, the DJ came up to me afterwards and said he wasn’t going to invoice us because he thought it was such a good case.
“It was a wonderful gesture. So many people involved did the same thing.”
Backing our appeal, Kai urged anyone with cancer, or anyone who has a friend or relation battling the disease to visit the centre.
She said: “Even though I was on the committee because of Lisa, in the beginning I thought I din’t want to go into the centre because I thought it would upset me.
“I couldn’t believe it when I first went in. It is not an unhappy place at all. It is a very warm, inclusive and supportive place.
“It is difficult to describe how wonderful it is or how much of a difference it makes to people like Lisa.”
The £1.2m extension will include three new therapy rooms, which will allow an additional 5,000 visitors per year, and new garden space.
More than £440,000 is already in the bag through corporate sponsorship and the Evening News appeal has generated nearly £39,000 since its launch in November.
To make a donation, please visit http://www.lisasbuyabrickformaggies.com/buy-a-brick-now/.