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Michelle Obama visits London cancer center

Michelle Obama has met cancer patients at a care center during her first full day in London before the G20 summit.
Image: U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama
First lady Michelle Obama joins Sarah Brown, the wife of Britain's prime minister, at  Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre in west London on Wednesday.Leon Neal / Pool via AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: The Associated Press

Michelle Obama wished a cancer care center a happy first birthday on Wednesday during her first full day in London before the G20 summit.

The U.S. first lady, who visited the center with Sarah Brown, wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, blew out a single candle on a chocolate-frosted sponge cake, and then joined others for tea.

"This is pretty amazing," Mrs. Obama said of the Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre, which Mrs. Brown opened last year.

"It's an oasis, an oasis that's necessary for people who are struggling. The building actualizes their journey in so many ways," he said.

Chatting with survivors
One of those who chatted with Mrs. Obama was Namina Turay, 32, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago but has been in remission for a year.

"Congratulations on being done," Mrs. Obama told Turay.

Turay told reporters afterward it had been a privilege to meet the U.S. president's wife. "She's so natural and really easy to talk to," Turay said.

Mrs. Obama wore a green pencil skirt and a sparkly cream cardigan by J. Crew for the visit, while Mrs. Brown wore a Britt Lintner navy blue dress.

Shouts of "Obama! Obama!" from a group outside the center greeted the first lady as her visit ended, and she departed after giving a hug to the center's chief executive, Laura Lee.

There are also five Maggie's centers in Scotland, founded by Charles Jencks and his wife Maggie, who died of cancer. In its first year, the London center recorded 12,000 patient visits.

The project aspires to provide a care center at every National Health Service hospital in the United Kingdom.