The Race 4 Truth was established in order to bring public attention to the way Cancer Research UK have denied recognition for Jim Cowan, who created the Race for Life.
Over the last quarter of a century, Cancer Research UK has told a range of tales about the origins of the event, all excluding its actual creator. There is evidence that, initially, this might have been because they were misled by former employee Jill MacRae who falsely (possibly fraudulently) laid claim to being the event’s originator.
More recently, perhaps realising they have believed (and promoted) fiction rather than fact, instead of showing the sort of integrity you might expect from a charity and acknowledging their mistake, they have taken up a policy of refusing to recognise anyone for the Race for Life’s creation.
In doing so, they have left the door open to accusations of hypocrisy, accusations which reflect reality. How?
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines hypocrisy thus:
Hypocrisy (hɪˈpɒk.rɪ.si); a situation in which someone pretends to believe something that they do not really believe, or that is the opposite of what they do or say at another time: “There’s one rule for her and another rule for everyone else and it’s sheer hypocrisy.”
And in refusing to give the recognition rightly due to Jim Cowan, every time they accept recognition (individually or as an organisation), or bestow recognition on others, they are acting hypocritically.
Their outgoing Chief Executive, Sir Harpal Kumar, was happy to accept a knighthood in recognition of his own work, yet refuses to recognise Jim Cowan as creator of the Race for Life. Hypocrisy?
They Tweeted using Father’s Day as a marketing tool and calling on people to honour fathers affected by cancer while (still) ignoring Jim Cowan and denying him recognition for creating the event and in full knowledge of the fact that the inspiration behind Jim’s creating of the Race for Life was his own father’s cancer diagnosis in 1993. Hypocrisy?
Cancer Research UK have annual Flame of Hope awards in recognition of their volunteers’ achievements, something we applaud. But every time they Tweet, or otherwise share, details of Flame of Hope Award winners without also recognising the man who created the Race for Life, isn’t it hypocrisy?
Nicholas McGranahan, group leader at the CRUK-UCL Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence, recently won the MD Anderson Wilson Stone Memorial Award and Cancer Research UK were quick to applaud the award, to promote the achievements of one of their own. But what of Jim Cowan? Still nothing. Hypocrisy?
And what of their Chairman, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, who was knighted in 2001 in recognition of his work. Where does he stand on recognising Jim Cowan for the creation of an event his charity has gained so much through? He refuses to recognise Jim at all. No, it is fine for others to recognise him but not for him to recognise Jim. Hypocrisy?
The above are examples of the dictionary definition hypocrisy which now runs through the fabric, the very culture, of Cancer Research UK. What is good for the charity, its people, its leadership, is not good for Jim Cowan. Hypocrisy? Without a shadow of a doubt.
We do not criticise the recognition of any of the above, we take that recognition at face value and assume it to be deserved. But we ask Cancer Research UK, doesn’t Jim Cowan deserve recognition too? Doesn’t the person who created your biggest fundraising event deserve the recognition you accept and bestow on others?
The charity’s new Chief Executive Officer will be starting work soon. Michelle Mitchell already has an OBE so we know she is willing to accept recognition for her achievements. We can only hope that, unlike those who preceded her, she is not a hypocrite and will be keen to ensure recognition to all who merit it both within the organisation and without.
Recognition for Jim Cowan is long, long overdue. Will change at the top at Cancer Research UK finally bring it or will hypocrisy continue to reign supreme? Time will tell.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.