The unstoppable force that is the Beatson Cancer Charity has its 10th Birthday this year.  And my goodness, what they’ve accomplished in that time.  Westender had the chance to speak to the charity as they reflect on the last monumental decade.

Do you remember a time before The Beatson?  Because I don’t think I can.  And indelibly intertwined with The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre is the Beatson Cancer Charity.  Again, I don’t think I remember a time before the charity existed.  But in comparison to other charities, these guys are mere babes in arms.

So why is it that we feel comforted, secure, safe in the knowledge that this stalwart of cancer fundraising, of supportive care, has always been there?  Maybe it’s because in the last 10 years the Beatson Cancer Charity has helped thousands upon thousands of patients, ensuring that not only their medical care is being supported but their overall wellbeing too.  

What a Difference a Decade Makes

The charity’s Depute CEO Gillian Hailstones thinks so.
‘Ten years ago we started out with our wellbeing centre that’s located on the fourth floor of the hospital’, says Gillian. ‘It provided a brilliant service to inpatients. However, we were keen to do more and reach more people. Over the ten years, the wellbeing centre has expanded to offer a service to outpatients as well as inpatients, and to also have our staff at another eight satellite locations.’ These satellite centres have opened throughout the west of Scotland – in Lanarkshire, Paisley, Dumbarton, to name but a few.    

Since 2014, the public donations to the charity have helped fund so many areas of cancer care.  There has been funding for enormous projects like a new MRI scanner.  Gillian is immensely proud of that campaign. ‘Our standout campaign has to be the MRI Appeal in 2021 – raising a phenomenal amount of money and allowing us to support our NHS colleagues by installing the most up to date and the best equipment that the people of Glasgow deserve.’

Beatson Befriending

As well as the MRI, the wellbeing centres, the charity has funded the Specialist Health and Work Service. Gillian says ’Our Specialist Health and Work Service goes through all aspects of cancer and work.  Then in the last few years we’ve added in our Group Support Programmes, Living with Uncertainty and Fear of Recurrence. We’ve added in a Benefits Advisor who has joined our Specialist Health and Work team and in 2022 we added our Bereavement service, so our services have grown and have gone from strength to strength.’

But it’s the smaller funding, the thoughtful funding, supporting those living with cancer, to truly LIVE with cancer, that make the difference too.  Way back in 2014, a tea trolly service was launched.  In 2016 the wig service started.  And in 2020 the vital Beatson befriending telephone service launched.  This service reached over 1000 calls in less than a year.  Gillian reflects on how the support of volunteers has made such a difference.  ‘We also have our volunteer led services, our Befriending service that started in covid and has been so successful it’s now part of our core service delivery. We’ve got ward volunteering. We’ve got telephone support and we’ve got our café that not just gives everyone a cup of tea, but it gives them a warm welcome and encouragement and support when they need it. We are so proud of what we’ve managed to achieve in that time.’

It is, of course, all down to the public.  Does the public’s generosity ever not surprise The Beatson Cancer Charity?

‘We are constantly humbled by people’s generosity. People give to our charity because they believe in the cause.’ Says Gillian. ‘They believe in the work that we do. That puts on us the onus to make sure that we are always striving to deliver the best services, the best innovations to support our NHS colleagues in the best way we can. The generosity of the people of Glasgow and the West of Scotland is not surprising because we see it so often and we see the generosity of spirit that people have but it’s humbling every single day.’

So through the support of the public, The Beatson Cancer Charity are going nowhere but onwards, and upwards!  Supporting individuals and families, supporting the NHS deliver the vital services and funding grants into research and innovation. 
Humbling indeed.  Beatson Cancer Charity, Happy 10th Birthday!


With sincere thanks to Lyndsey Hanna, PR and Communications Officer Beatson Cancer Charity.

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