Center of hope and support
Updated: 2013-08-21 08:05
By Rebecca Lo (China Daily)
"Our 'look good, feel better' class help ladies deal with the loss of their hair or damage to their complexion. Makeup artists show them how to apply products for a natural look. Many local women don't know what they can achieve with cosmetics - with just a little effort, they can be beautiful again. Patients are much happier when they've regained their confidence."
Lui explains that the yoga and tai chi classes are conducted by specialists who work with cancer patients.
"Unlike yoga studios where it's about how well you can do a headstand, there is no pressure to go beyond your comfort zone. That can lead to frustration instead of benefitting. Participants are taught to understand their physical limitations and how they may injure themselves if they push too hard."
While nutrition classes promote healthy eating, they also are chances for patients to socialize.
A spacious kitchen is designed as the heart and soul of the sunny spaces in Maggie's center. Kalson Ho / For China Daily
"We are all in good moods if we have good appetites," says Lui. "Our regular users get a chance to show off their skills. One taught us how to make bread, for example. The cooking and nutrition classes are fun. Though patients need to be mindful of eating healthy, we teach them that it's ok to have a spoonful of sugar or some butter every now and then. And it is natural for our community to sit at the round dining table and interact with new patients over a cup of tea."
Lui points out that the Hong Kong center offers a slightly different program than its counterparts in the United Kingdom.
"They don't offer traditional Chinese medicine, while creative writing is not as popular here," she explains.
She believes that Maggie's provides something to the local community that the social services run by the Hong Kong government lacks.
"We use our center to help facilitate social activities," she says. "Before I started working at Maggie's, I never realized how architecture could be such a huge contributing factor. Users love coming here. They learn that it's not just about their own illness - they are all in the same boat at Maggie's. They are among friends."