Thousands of patients who receive cancer treatment at the Royal Free London (RFL) will benefit from an incredible new support centre which was today opened by Her Majesty the Queen.
The Maggie’s centre, on the grounds of the Royal Free Hospital (RFH), is expected to receive more than 10,000 visits each year from people living with cancer, their families, and their friends.
Designed by world-renowned architect, Daniel Libeskind, the eye-catching building provides visitors with a welcoming space to share stories and experiences, as well as an opportunity to learn new skills and techniques to cope with cancer.
Many of the centre’s visitors will be patients from the RFL, which runs the RFH, and hosts one of the biggest cancer services in the NHS, receiving almost 50,000 referrals per year.
During her visit, Her Majesty the Queen met staff from the RFL and donors and supporters who made the creation of this iconic building possible.
She also heard about the journeys of four people living with cancer. This included Katie Georgiou, who was diagnosed with classical hodgkin lymphoma in April 2022.
Katie said: “It was such an honour to meet and speak to Her Majesty The Queen today at the beautiful new Maggie’s centre.
“In Maggie’s, I can come in and express my true self without feeling guilty or hiding anything – I don’t have to wear my wig.
“Finding Maggie’s is like finding a new friendship that makes you into a new person because it opens new doors inside of you. To now have this amazing centre to come makes a huge difference in contrast to the clinical surroundings of the hospital.”
Pictured above: Her Majesty the Queen with Dame Laura Lee, chief executive of Maggie's. Photo credit to Alex Maguire photography
Cancer care is one of the RFL's three areas of focus, as part of its clinical strategy, alongside cardiovascular services and organ failure and transplantation.
Peter Landstrom, group chief executive of the RFL, said: “It was wonderful to welcome Her Majesty the Queen to open this incredible new building.
“The Royal Free London and Maggie’s are at the heart of delivering the very best cancer care and this centre will strengthen our relationship into the future.
“Every year thousands of people with cancer visit our hospitals – I hope this centre will provide some comfort to them and their loved ones.
“I am hugely grateful to everyone who has been involved in the creation of the Maggie’s centre.”
Dame Laura Lee, DBE, chief executive of Maggie’s said: “We were delighted to once again welcome Her Majesty The Queen to open our newest purpose built centre at the Royal Free Hospital. Her Majesty’s commitment to raising awareness of the support we offer at Maggie’s is invaluable at a time when people with cancer need our support so much.
“We hope that this new centre, beautifully designed by Daniel Libeskind, will continue to help our existing and new visitors to the Royal Free London and from surrounding areas in London, so that anyone living with cancer can get the support they need.”
The centre is split over three floors and has nine rooms including a kitchen, library, private benefits room, counselling room and a large multipurpose room for group and exercise sessions. It is open Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm, and referrals are not needed.
Maggie’s is a charity with more than 25 years of experience providing free cancer support and information in centres across the UK. Built in the grounds of NHS cancer hospitals, the centres are warm and welcoming spaces run by expert staff who help people live well with cancer.