Category Archives: News

ERASED! THE CREATOR OF RACE FOR LIFE SPEAKS OUT

Journalist Sonia Poulter asks, quite reasonably, “Jim Cowan created the phenomenally successful charity fundraiser, The Race for Life to honour his father who died with cancer. Why have Cancer Research UK erased Jim from history?”

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind!

NEW CANCER RESEARCH UK CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER FACING BIG CHALLENGES

Cancer Research UK’s new Chief Executive, Michelle Mitchell, has now taken up her post following her appointment earlier this year. In her new role, she will face many of the same challenges facing all CEO’s, whether in the corporate or charity sector. Where is the organisation going? How will it maintain or increase growth? What will the broader economy mean to fundraising? And more, including understanding and improving public perceptions of the charity.

For over and above the recognised and accepted challenges, Michelle Mitchell faces some that should have no place in any organisation but especially not one in the charity sector, challenges which have festered for too long and which will continue to undermine confidence in the charity if left unaddressed.

They lie within the culture at Cancer Research UK, a culture whereby low integrity and dishonesty are acceptable, hypocrisy is the norm, and fraud by former employees is ignored.

Since launching the Race 4 Truth in May, we have reported on all of the above, citing examples and providing evidence where necessary. The deafening silence from Cancer Research UK speaks to integrity so low that the exposing of this sordid history is not deemed worthy of any comment whatsoever. But then, how do you defend the indefensible?

Our campaign started when Cancer Research UK lied about Jim Cowan having created the Race for Life, costing him a job.

It has traced the many and varied false claims from Cancer Research UK as to the origins of the event and provided evidence, including correspondence from a former employee crediting Jim with taking the original idea to them.

That same employee went on to falsely claim the idea as her own, a claim we queried as potentially fraudulent given it will undoubtedly have appeared on that individual’s CV thereby enhancing her career and gaining her monetary reward. And yet, Cancer Research UK have remained silent over the issue, other former employees even supporting the potentially fraudulent claims. And one can only ponder on whether those false claims were supported with references from Cancer Research UK which helped to embed the lie?

When it became apparent to the charity that the lie was exposed and that they could no longer deny that Jim Cowan created their most successful fundraising event, the policy shifted to one of not crediting anyone (barring one slip by an employee who credited yet another different source).

One can only wonder at the hypocrisy of an organisation, and individuals therein, who refuse to recognise the person who created their largest fundraising event, one which has raised over £1/2 Billion for the charity.

Hypocrisy? Absolutely. For although the charity and its leadership refuse to recognise Jim Cowan, they have been more than happy over the years to accept recognition for themselves; both the outgoing CEO (Harpal Kumar) and current Chairman (Leszek Borysiewicz) have accepted knighthoods in recognition of their own work. The charity and its staff have accepted awards for its work and they also hand out awards to others in recognition of their support.

All of the above in contrast to their refusal to recognise one man, a man who created an enormously successful event, one that changed the fundraising landscape in the UK forever. But who Cancer Research refuse to recognise, let alone thank.

Along the way we have uncovered other issues bringing the charity’s integrity into question. The (deliberate?) omission of any mention of the fact that not a single penny of the entry fee for the Race for Life supports research into cancer. Even asking a straight question as to how much of the funds raised via sponsorship funds research failed to elicit a straight answer, a straight answer we are still waiting for.

Low integrity, misleading supporters, dishonesty, support for fraudsters, hypocrisy. We can only imagine the depths to which these issues go when considered against the breadth of Cancer Research UK’s activities as oppose the recognition of one man’s brilliant creation.

The challenge of bringing about the cultural change needed to reverse the above wrongs cannot be underestimated. We wish Michelle Mitchell well as she takes up her new role and hope she will lead from the front and restore the integrity to Cancer Research UK, integrity which has been absent for far too long.

Not to do so, will only undermine public confidence further, in turn undermining the chances of success in those other challenges we mention at the beginning of this piece.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

PERCENTAGE OF CANCER RESEARCH UK INCOME GOING TO RESEARCH IS LOWER THAN THEY CLAIM

Cancer Research UK’s 2017-18 Annual Report claims “more than 80p from every £1” goes to funding research. However, a closer look reveals the figure is not an accurate one and omits certain income streams to paint a better picture than the reality.

The British public should, justifiably, be able to trust the charities seeking our support. They should be transparent in their dealings, ethical in their actions, and of the highest integrity in everything they do.

Sadly, as Race 4 Truth has exposed time and time again, Cancer Research UK are far from transparent, clearly unethical, and lack any level of integrity worth measuring.

A look at their most recent Annual Report (2017-18) reveals another way in which what they claim and reality are not necessarily the same thing, and demonstrates how when people think they are supporting a ‘worthy’ cause, far less of what they give goes where they expect it to.

The report claims that “more than 80p from every £1” goes to fund research (‘charitable activities’). And, using the same figures as they do, a quick check reveals this to be the case, 81% to be exact.

But, imagine you had a second job, a second income, one which cost you a bit more in transport and in uniforms. Given that extra cost, would you decide not to include it in any calculation to cover your family’s living costs? Would you not declare it?

Of course not. But that is what Cancer Research UK choose to do with what they call ‘trading income’.

This is the income from their high street shops. Importantly, it is also the income from things like Race for Life entry fees and merchandise sales.

Think about it, when you buy something from one of their high street stores, you assume that over 80% of their income supports ‘the cause.’ Why wouldn’t you? They say that is the case in their Annual Report.

When you enter the Race for Life, you assume that over 80% of the income it helps generate for the charity supports research into cancer. “This is beating cancer”, they proudly boast without telling you that not a penny of your entry fee goes to research and that not a penny of that entry fee is included in how they calculate their “over 80p from every £1” claim.

When this ‘trading income’ is included in the calculation (a not inconsiderable sum of £104m) the figure that goes to their charitable activities drops to below 74% (73.5%). More than a seven percent difference between the claim and the reality.

Although we believe it should be illegal for a charity to act in this way, it is not. We are not suggesting that Cancer Research UK are breaking any rules.

But what of trust? What of transparency? What of integrity? What of ethics?

If we can’t believe what a charity tells us on something as basic, as fundamental as where our money goes, what else are they telling us that we should be doubting?

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

NCVO CONSULTATION ON CHARITY SECTOR CODE OF ETHICS WILL LEAVE CRUK WANTING

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has been developing a set of principles that can act as a ‘code of ethics’ for the charity sector and is now consulting on a draft code.

This code aims to support charities, their governing bodies, and those who work and volunteer in and with them in recognising and resolving ethical issues and conflicts. It sets out the key ethical principles and the supporting actions that charities should take to ensure an ethical approach to their work.

Charities and those who work in and with them would agree to uphold the following principles throughout their work:

  • Beneficiaries first
  • Integrity
  • Openness
  • Right to be safe

The NCVO say that by incorporating these principles into strategies, policies and procedures, charities would not only be upholding their fundamental values, but also setting the stage for long term success.

Would Cancer Research UK sign up to such a code? And, given their history of hypocrisy and dishonesty, if they did would they stand by them?

Take the section on Integrity as an example. The draft code states; “Charities and those who volunteer, work in and with them should uphold the highest levels of institutional integrity and personal conduct at all times.”

Given the near quarter of a century history of Cancer Research UK denying recognition to Jim Cowan, the man who created the Race for Life, a denial supported by 24 years of falsehoods about the event’s origins, we must question how such a position would stand up to comparison with the Code of Ethics being proposed?

Given the culture of hypocrisy evident throughout at Cancer Research UK, a culture reflected from the top down, we wonder at where that culture stands when compared with an ethical approach to standards and behaviour?

Given the apparent support for their former Event Manager’s fraudulent claims to have created the Race for Life, claims on which she has built a long and successful career, we must ask what Cancer Research UK consider to be ‘ethical’ about their behaviour and hers?

And, given the bold faced lie which led to our launching the Race 4 Truth, we find it hard to find any claims by Cancer Research UK to be of an organisation adhering to this, or any other, Code of Ethics to be laughable. Or. At least they would be laughable had they not done, and continue to do, so much damage to the man to whom they should be eternally grateful for creating their largest fundraising event and to whom the entire charity sector should be grateful for changing the  face of charity fundraising events when he did.

Here at Race 4 Truth we will be contacting the NCVO and seeking to contribute to their consultation on the proposed Code of Ethics. It is a shame that government are not demanding a more ethical approach from the whole sector under threat of loss of charitable status. For the public must be able to have faith in the sector, faith easily undermined by the likes of Cancer Research UK and their actions, to the detriment of all.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

More on the NCVO Charity Code of Ethics here.

CANCER RESEARCH UK APPOINT NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Cancer Research UK have announced a new Chief Executive to replace Sir Harpal Kumar, who is stepping down this summer.

 

Michelle Mitchell OBE has been CEO of the MS Society since 2013. Under her leadership, there has been a 40% increase in access to effective MS treatments and she has developed a £100m research fundraising appeal.

Before joining the MS Society, Mitchell’s previous leadership roles were as Director General of Age UK and Chair of the Fawcett Society. She is also a non-executive director of NHS England, and has been a trustee of The King’s Fund and the Power to Change Trust.

Mitchell has a BA in Economics, an MA in Politics and Administration and an International Executive Diploma from INSEAD. Michelle is an alumna of the Innovations in Government Programme at Harvard University JFK School and of the Strategic Perspectives in Non-profit Management programme at Harvard Business School.

Here at Race 4 Truth we would like to offer our congratulations to the incoming CEO on assuming what will be a very challenging role.

Not least among the challenges she faces are tackling the the charity’s lack of transparency, low integrity, and the hypocrisy of its leadership over recent years. As an OBE, we know she is willing to accept recognition for her exceptional achievements, we hope she will she be more prepared to also recognise the achievements of others than the outgoing CEO who has been criticised for accepting recognition while not affording it to others.

YOU CAN NOW SUPPORT THE RACE 4 TRUTH ON INSTAGRAM

Supporters of the Race 4 Truth will be pleased to hear that we have added a new front to which we are carrying our fight by opening up an Instagram account.

Why not join us there and help the campaign to get Cancer Research UK to recognise Jim Cowan as the creator of the Race for Life?

You’ll find us on Instagram at race4truth

And our other social media is on Facebook at /Race4Truth and on Twitter @race_4_truth

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK is lagging behind!

RACE FOR LIFE TWEET CONFIRMS THAT NONE OF THE ENTRY FEE GOES TO FUNDING RESEARCH INTO CANCER

Search the Race for Life website for information on how your entry fee will be spent and any information is difficult to find.

In a previous post we suggested that this may be because Cancer Research UK would prefer you to think some of your entry fee goes to research into cancer rather than share the truth; which is that none of the entry fee funds such research.

And now, in reply to a Race 4 Truth tweet (see below), the Race for Life have been forced to concede that we were correct, not a single penny of the entry fee for the event goes towards research.

We are seeking clarification of the second point their tweet made, stating that all of the money raised by their supporters goes directly to ground breaking and life saving research.

However, again, the Race for Life website carries nothing to support this statement and, historically, they have claimed that sponsorship raised goes to Cancer Research UK leading to questions as to what percentage actually finds its way to funding any research?

When (or if) we receive any clarification on this important matter we will, of course, share it via these pages.

In theRace 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

CRUK CEO RESPONDS TO RACE 4 TRUTH SUPPORTER’S EMAIL

On 10th May, Race 4 Truth supporter Pete Brindle emailed Sir Harpal Kumar, the CEO of Cancer Research UK, to express his disappointment at the charity’s refusal to acknowledge Jim Cowan for creating the Race for Life and, as a result, to notify him that he was withdrawing his support. You can read that email here.

Yesterday (29th May), Pete got in touch to let us know that he has received a reply from Kumar. This is what he wrote:

“Dear Mr Brindle,

My apologies for the delay in responding to your email advising us that you are cancelling your regular donation to Cancer Research UK. I’m sorry that you feel this way but pleased that a smaller charity in the same sector will now benefit from your support.

You are quite right that our Race 4 Life event series is significant in both its popularity with our supporters and in the funds raised over the years towards our research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer. However, we do not credit anyone with originating any of our events, but choose instead to focus on making them as successful as possible to fund our life-saving work.

Unfortunately, I am unable to comment specifically about the content of your email concerning Mr Cowan’s involvement, as this is a personal matter between Cancer Research UK and Mr Cowan.

Thank you for the support you have provided to Cancer Research UK to date. It is very much appreciated.

Kind regards

Harpal Kumar

Sir Harpal S Kumar

Chief Executive Officer,

Cancer Research UK”

While we thank Kumar for taking the time to reply to Pete, his response, while disappointing, is not unexpected.

On 18th May, we reported how many different versions Cancer Research UK had for who created the Race for Life (and those were just the ones we could trace).

After years of (not unsurprisingly given they were not telling the truth) being unable to tell a consistent story, we reported that they now appeared to have a policy of reporting that they, “do not credit anyone with originating the event.” That policy has been their consistent line since last year; barring one new (and false) claim from their National Events Manager Annette Quarry earlier this month.

Quarry’s claim aside, after years of being unable to tell a consistent story, it appears Cancer Research UK have decided on a policy of acknowledging no one, over one of giving credit where it is due. But then, giving credit where it is due would mean acknowledging the falsehoods they shared in the past.

We also note the comment that this, “is a personal matter between Cancer Research UK and Mr Cowan.”

They are right. It is VERY personal. Especially when Cancer Research UK are costing Mr Cowan jobs by denying they have ever heard of him, thus bringing his (honest) CV into question. Perhaps Kumar would like to enlighten us as to why?

Sir Harpal Kumar’s response is telling. In refusing to credit anyone with the creation of the Race for Life, he avoids lying about the event’s true origins in the way the charity has done for nearly a quarter of a century. It is worth noting that he chooses not to deny that Jim Cowan created the event. Why not, if previous CRUK yarns were true?

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

If, like Pete, you would like to withdraw your support for Cancer Research UK in light of our campaign, please do not stop supporting vital research into cancer via other charities.

SUPPORTER EMAILS CANCER RESEARCH UK CEO TO WITHDRAW SUPPORT OVER LIES ABOUT RACE FOR LIFE

Long time Cancer Research supporter Pete Brindle has emailed Sir Harpal Kumar, the Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, to inform him that he is withdrawing his support for the charity after hearing about their persistent lies over the event’s origins.

Pete has given us his permission to share his email, sent on 10th May, in full:


Mr Kumar

I am writing to inform you that as of today (10.05.2018) I have cancelled my direct debit, donating £20 each month to Cancer Research UK. Instead, I shall be donating the same amount to a smaller independent charity in the same sector. My reason for this is plain and simple. Im aware that CRUK organises the ‘Race 4 Life’, a very worthy institution that is now renowned throughout the UK, if not globally, and an institution that has helped increase CRUK’s visibility in the charity sector (I believe CRUK are now the third largest charity in the UK by donation). To date, I believe the race has helped raise just over £500m. 

However, I am also aware that the original organiser and the man responsible for creating the ‘Race 4 Life’ has not received the recognition he deserves. Without the knowledge Jim Cowan brought to your charity, it is arguable that it would have the exposure it has today. Mr Cowan isn’t after public recognition, although I believe his efforts for charity are worthy of such, but your charity’s failure to recognise his contribution is having a detrimental effect on his reputation. Just including his collaboration with yourselves on his CV has seen him miss out on positions because CRUK refuse to acknowledge his contribution. I find it quite disgraceful that a leading charity (as well as some of its previous and current employees) feel the need to ignore his efforts in order to forward their own reputations.

I have made a number of close friends aware of my reason for cancelling my donation to CRUK and they are of the same opinion. I’m sure you’re aware how difficult it is to gain a good reputation and how detrimental poor publicity is to a major charity (Oxfam!). A simple public acknowledgement is all that is required. 

I urge you to put this right. 

Yours sincerely 

Pete Brindle

We now look forward to hearing about the contents of their formal response.

It is important to us to note that Pete is continuing his support for cancer charities, just not Cancer Research UK. We urge others considering withdrawing their support for CRUK to continue to support other cancer charities so that vital research and support continues.

Update (30th May 2018): Sir Harpal Kumar has now replied to Pete’s email. You can read his reply and our reaction to it here.