Men’s Meets at Maggie’s: Supporting Men Living With Cancer

Last month, ex Rugby League star Stevie Ward launched Men’s Meets at Maggie’s. The centre is holding monthly meet-ups for men with their own diagnosis or that of someone close to them.

At the charity’s base in the grounds of St James Hospital, Leeds, Stevie spoke about his brain injury, giving up playing rugby and how he has navigated life after his career came to an end.

The monthly group sessions will include a range of activities and speakers nd hope to encourage more men to come to the centre for support. Nationally, men account for 51% of new cancer diagnoses each year according to CRUK*. Across Maggie’s, one third of the visitors are men. The charity has completed a piece of work looking at the support offered to men and the research suggests that men want practical advice and reliable information and they need to build trust before talking about their challenges and needs.

Maggie’s also found that men value meaningful connections and purposeful, focused activity from their support. The Men’s Meet Up group aims to build trust and relationships, provide peer connection and social support, as well as shared learning and practical experiences. Men are influenced by their peers and male leaders, so each group will include lectures and talks, focused activities and external speakers.

Maggie’s Centre interior

In April, architect of the centre and world-renowned designer, Thomas Heatherwick will speak, and in May, the group will be joined by charity Cancer & Pisces Trust, who aim to enhance the lives of people with cancer through therapeutic fishing.

Prior to the launch, Amanda Proctor, Centre Head at Maggie’s Yorkshire told us: “We know that men often don’t seek support for their cancer, and men who care for their families or partners with cancer are even less likely to come in for support. But we know that when men do come into our centre they find the support we offer, and the peer support, really helpful and often form strong friendships which can be a huge benefit when living with cancer. The aim of this ‘Men’s Meet’ is to bring men to our centre, with the hope it will encourage them to return. We’re really excited to be launching it with Stevie who will be talking about his brain injury and how he had to stop playing rugby and change his life.  Our outside speakers are not necessarily cancer related but a way of bringing men together.  Andrew, our psychologist, will be facilitating the group and will be able to signpost to other groups and support, depending on what the men share at the group.”

Stevie Ward: “It was great to come into Maggie’s today to speak to these men. I know how much of an impact an illness or injury can have on your life – not just physically but mentally, too. Having to re-build your life can feel really daunting and access to the right support…………….. can make all the difference. Seeing the amazing centre and the support on offer at Maggie’s Yorkshire was really inspiring and I’d encourage anyone living with cancer to visit.”

To find out more about the group and Maggie’s Yorkshire, please visit the centre at St James’ Hospital, or get in touch on 0113 457 8364 or [email protected].

The centre is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm and all support is free. You don’t need an appointment or a referral – you can just come in.

For further information about Maggie’s Yorkshire please go to 

Follow Maggie’s Yorkshire on social media for the latest news and stories: Instagram: @maggiesyorkshireTwitter