Staff raise £4,500 for Maggie’s Edinburgh extension appeal

Andy Anderson and Issy Ryan. Picture: Greg Macvean

Andy Anderson and Issy Ryan. Picture: Greg Macvean

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Pedalling more than 50 miles on the slopes of one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains after a solid 15-mile hike might not sound like fun to many.

But for dedicated fundraisers at Maggie’s, it was a way of showing their patients how much they care.

For 20 years, the Maggie’s Centre at the Western General Hospital has offered comfort and support to thousands of cancer patients and their families.

The Evening News has teamed up with fundraiser Lisa Stephenson and Maggie’s for the Buy a Brick appeal, which aims to raise more than £750,000 to extend the centre so it can see an additional 5000 people a year.

Donations poured in from readers, raising an astonishing £38,000 in the first four weeks.

Maggie’s staff are also throwing their weight behind the appeal, as centre head Andy Anderson and Issy Ryan, a cancer support specialist, have raised more than £4500 doing charity challenges.

Kicking off with the Edinburgh Marathon relay in May, Andy and Issy also joined friends to complete the gruelling Rob Roy challenge in Perthshire in June.

Starting off from Pitlochry, in Perthshire, the team had to hike 16 miles to Kenmore then endure a vertiginous 56-mile cycle around Schiehallion and West Loch Rannoch. The dynamic duo finished off their year-long adventure with the Edinburgh Santa Run yesterday in Princes Street Gardens.

Andy, a former oncology nurse who has worked at Maggie’s for 17 years, said: “This year is a significant one for Maggie’s and we wanted to celebrate that.

“We wanted to demonstrate our dedication.

“We also wanted to stay healthy and to find team-based events which recognise how we work at Maggie’s.”

The team originally aimed to raise around £3500 for the hospice campaign, but they smashed their target after a surge of support.

Andy, 48, said: “When so many people have supported us, we didn’t want to let them down.

“The sense of achievement from crossing the finish line on something like that – it is exhausting and exhilarating.

“Everything we have done at Maggie’s in terms of supporting people is very serious but there is also a sense of lightness and life that we wanted to carry on into these fundraising efforts.”

Issy, 44, said: “It was amazing and huge fun.

“When I was struggling, I would think about the challenges that people coming to the centre are facing through their treatment.

“Their courage really puts it into perspective.”

Plans for the £1.2 million extension were rubberstamped last month and more than £440,000 has already been raised through high-level sponsorship and pledges.

Top city architect Richard Murphy, who worked on the original centre, has designed the extension to include three additional therapy rooms that will be used for private therapy or group work.

There will be a new garden with a summer house where there will be space for tai chi and for quiet reflection.