Cancer Research UK are not shy when it comes to posting lots of stories, claims and other reports across their numerous social media profiles. But, why isn’t anyone questioning how much of what they say is true? After all, an organisation which is quite happy to consistently lie about one thing is highly unlikely to be honest with you about everything else.
And this shouldn’t be news to anyone. They have been lying to you for over a quarter of a century, both in their current format and in their previous incarnation as the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.
Cancer Research UK, its CEO Michelle Mitchell, and many others within the organisation (including its Trustees), are fully aware of that lie. Thy are fully aware that at least one key part of the charity’s history is, literally, made up. And that must cast doubt on any other claims they make, tales they tell. For where there is one big lie, there are likely to be others.
Cancer Research UK, and its predecessor the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, have rewritten the history of the Race For Life to exclude Jim Cowan, the person who actually created it, and then spent the next 27 years spreading different fictional versions (i.e. lies).
We must therefore pose the question; how can anyone know for sure that they haven’t rewritten other parts of their story, made up other tales they tell?
Mitchell might claim that she knows nothing of this rewriting of history, although as CEO she should avail herself of the facts. And, of course, she has had that opportunity but declined it.
In the past the very weak defence was that they had no documentation from the event’s creation.
But that doesn’t hold water. Firstly, without documentation, without evidence, what are the numerous fictional versions they have relayed over the years based on? Secondly, because we have offered (on more than one occasion) to sit down and share documents and witness contacts with Mitchell but she was not interested. Evidence that clearly proves Jim Cowan created the Race For Life and that Cancer Research UK have peddled nothing more than a series of lies over the intervening years.
In short, they know they are not telling the truth but prefer not to correct the lies; they prefer fiction to truth. Otherwise, why not sue us? Why not sue Jim Cowan? The answer is simple; you cannot sue someone for telling the truth. And they know that truth would be crystal clear in a court. The evidence supports it.
How can they then talk about Cancer Research UK’s history when, clearly, they don’t even care whether parts of it are even accurate? Worse, they know it is a lie but look the other way, pretend not to know. And if one part of the story is told while known to be false, what else among their posts, press releases, claims, and other tales require (politely) closer examination? (LINK)
Cancer Research UK and its CEO Michelle Mitchell have declined the opportunity to see documentation and to speak to witnesses who can confirm the correct story of the creation of the Race for Life.
They prefer a heads in the sand approach, an ignore any facts we don’t like mentality.
Surely, therefore, as well as the truth of anything CRUK tell us, another big question that has implications for the organisation’s future, is that of whether it can be trusted?
With a track record of rewriting history, lies, hypocrisy, turning a blind eye to fraud, low integrity, poor ethics, and absent morals (all evidenced), we certainly would not trust them. But they could very quickly make a start on repairing the damage by recognising Jim Cowan, putting the record straight on their employee fraud, and acknowledging the many wrongs done in the last quarter of a century.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
NOTE: We should add that we also know that the Race for Life’s creator, Jim Cowan, has offered to sit down with Mitchell and her predecessor as CEO (Harpal Kumar) to share documents, correspondence and witness contacts on more than one occasion. Both Mitchell and Kumar declined or ignored those numerous offers. It appears that accuracy, honesty, and truth; and with them trust, are not high up Cancer Research UK’s list of priorities.
It is reasonable for the public to expect honesty, transparency, integrity and accountability from charities. Unfortunately, in the case of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) you get none of them.
That CRUK happily turned a blind eye to the fraud of their then employee Jill MacRae has been a matter of record for some time.
MacRae infamously claimed to be the creator of the Race for Life after stealing the event from its real inventor, Jim Cowan. So brazen was she that she even threatened Cowan with legal action if he did not desist from his own, honest, claim. But he stood firm and MacRae, now with Barnardo’s, backed down and removed all such claims from her social media.
However, by including this false claim on her CV, she committed an act of fraud, an act supported by CRUK who happily provided references to that effect. Indeed, historically CRUK recognised MacRae as the event’s creator, a falsehood they have never corrected.
Initially they supported MacRae’s dishonesty and fraud, then they cited a series of other origins for the event before, eventually, rather than show integrity and admit they had been wrong, they adopted a line of ‘not one person was responsible for creating the event.’ This, despite all evidence clearly showing Cowan did create the event. And, in not corrected the lies, in continuing to deny Cowan any recognition, they display a lack of honesty, a lack of accountability, and a complete absence of integrity.
CRUK’s dishonesty is further evidenced by the numerous deliberately misleading claims they make to draw people into their events. Take for example the claim, ‘this is beating cancer’ used to promote the Race for Life. The reality is that not a single penny from the event entry fees went to research and not a single penny from merchandising went to funding research. Clearly not ‘beating cancer’ but more likely funding the corporate excess CRUK enjoy.
In fairness to CRUK, those entering the Race for Life who decided to also raise sponsorship might well have contributed to ‘beating cancer’ but that is not what the advertising claimed. And, when challenged, CRUK would not clarify what percentage of funds raise through sponsorship went to actual research, went to actually ‘beating cancer.’
It is a very murky picture. It is a picture of deliberately misleading claims, of outright dishonesty, of a absence of integrity, and a complete lack of transparency and accountability. It is certainly not what the public should expect from a charity.
And this is what we know about. How much dishonesty remains uncovered?
For where there is one lie, there are usually more. And when an organisation lies with so ease and such frequency it is usually because dishonesty is so deeply embedded within its culture.
IN THE RACE FOR TRUTH, CANCER RESEARCH UK ARE LAGGING BEHIND
In July we reported how Race for Life creator Jim Cowan had written open letters* to the sponsors of the Race For Life to highlight Cancer Research UK’s flawed in-house inquiry into the event’s origins and asking them to use their influence as event partners to lean on CRUK to open that inquiry up to public scrutiny. After all, if it was a properly conducted and honest inquiry, what could they possible have to hide by doing so?
In his letters Jim stated; “I am asking you to consider what asking Cancer Research UK to open their inquiry to public scrutiny would say about your corporate and brand values? And, I would ask you to consider what not doing so would infer about those same values?”
Surely, what was being asked of the leaders of each of these companies was a reasonable request. That is, assuming those companies have the integrity and the moral compass to care about right and wrong, to care about the ethics and values of organisations they partner with and promote their brands through.
Sadly, none of them do. Over three months later only one has even bothered to reply. A Tesco ‘Customer Service Specialist’ replied stating that they were unable to hep with the matter. Global Radio (owners of Heart FM) and Scottish Power have not replied at all.
What does this say about the values of these three companies? What does it say about their moral and ethical positions, about their integrity? Obviously they see no issue in partnering with unethical organisations of dubious morals, organisations with a history of dishonesty who have been evidenced to look the other way when employees commit fraud. We know this because that is the history of Cancer Research UK and the Race for Life, catalogued on this website
We decided to look further and to research the stated values given by each company online.
Tesco’s ‘Core Purpose and Values’ statement does not make any reference to ethics, morals, integrity or honesty. None. Given this, given these values hold no relevance to Tesco, maybe their lack of interest in intervening to ask CRUK to display some integrity should not be surprising?
Tesco’s statement does state; “we treat people how they want to be treated.” Clearly not in the case of Jim Cowan. It also states; “every little help makes a big difference.” Maybe it does. If only Tesco could be bothered to offer that help. Especially on a matter of truth and honesty, of integrity.
Scottish Power’s parent company, Iberdrola, has a clear statement of ‘Our Values’ on its website. Under the section titled ‘Sustainable Energy’ they give ‘ethics’ as one of those values along with ‘responsibility’ and ‘transparency.’
And yet, their ethics do not stretch to having questions for a partner (CRUK) who has been evidenced several times over to act without ethics, without either morals or integrity. What does this say of ‘responsibility?’ Obviously only responsible enough to turn a blind-eye to wrong doing but not responsible enough to address it. And how believable is a value of ‘transparency’ in a company willing to look the other way when one of its partners (CRUK) acts without any transparency by keeping a flawed inquiry in-house, avoiding any public scrutiny?
And what of Global Entertainment, the owner of Heart FM? Despite searching, we could not find any Values Statement for the company at all. The closest thing we could find was on the ‘About’ page of their website where they state; “People may forget what you said, people may forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” They might want to run that statement past Jim Cowan and ask him how their turning a blind eye to Cancer Research UK’s lack of ethics, lack of transparency, lack of integrity, makes him feel?
We also found a report in The Guardian newspaper from March 2010 reporting on Global’s (then) new Mission Statement. It included the line; “here’s to the obsessive ones who don’t walk by anything they can put right themselves.” We can only assume that Global have changed their mind about that one as they walked past this issue without even a sideways glance.
It is clear that Cancer Research UK and the Race for Life have found three partners who mirror their own shady values, who lack the ethics, morals or integrity to stand up and do the right thing.
In the cold light of day the ‘values’ talked about on the websites of Tesco, Global and Iderbrola are little more than empty words, window dressing covering up an absence of integrity they would rather their customers do not see.
And Cancer Research UK’s so-called inquiry remains hidden from any public scrutiny. The silence remains deafening.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK, Tesco, Scottish Power, and Heart FM are all lagging behind.
*The open letters from Jim Cowan to the sponsors of the Race for Life were dated 28th July 2021 and all were sent by recorded delivery. They were addressed to: Ashley Tabor-King, Founder & President, Global Entertainment & Talent Group Limited. Keith Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Scottish Power Renewables & Chief Corporate Officer, Scottish Power. Ken Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Tesco.
On 23rd December last year, we told you about Cancer Research UK’s (CRUK) astonishing new claim that they had held an inquiry into the origins of the Race for Life and, having “explored all reasonable lines of enquiry” they had been “unable to find any solid evidence which supports his (Jim Cowan’s) claim to be the sole originator of Race for Life.”
At the time we described it as a ridiculous claim. Why? – Because CRUK had failed to contact Jim Cowan to ascertain what evidence he might hold. – Because CRUK had failed to consult numerous witnesses who would tell them the origins of the event. – Because they had excluded numerous external parties. – Because CRUK had previously admitted to having no documentation from the early years of Race for Life.
Given the above ‘oversights’ it is difficult to see how the inquiry, if it even happened, could have been anything other than lip-service aimed at continuing the charity’s long-term denial of the facts aimed at justifying their continued refusal to give Jim Cowan the recognition he rightly deserves.
Despite the experience of over 25 years telling him it would probably be a waste of time, Jim Cowan decided to contact CRUK. Either, by some miracle, they would finally accept the facts so evident to everyone else who has seen them or, more likely, the claimed enquiry would be exposed as yet another work of fiction among so many others. Fiction created with the sole aim of covering up the truth.
On 23rd December Jim emailed CRUK sharing links to numerous documents via Google Drive. These documents are all in the public domain, free to view on this site and included: – His 1993 letter to the charity proposing and outlining the event. – A letter on the charity’s letterhead, signed by their then Head of Events which clearly stated that he had “come up with the original idea.” – A letter from their own Jill Baker following on from Jim’s proposal and confirming their initial meeting. – Evidence of the many various incorrect claims as to the origins of the event made by CRUK and their staff over the years. – Evidence exposing Jill MacRae’s (Jill Baker’s married name) fraudulent claims to being the creator of the event. – He also informed CRUK that he could produce witnesses who were present in 1993 and 1994 whose evidence would support the facts he was presenting.
The first reply, dated 18th January, was simply to say that CRUK could not access the files on the Google Drive.
Jim replied to this email providing further links adding that he was cynical about the inquiry as it had never been mentioned in any previous correspondence. He wondered: – If it had taken place prior to that correspondence, why was the inquiry not reopened in light of Jim’s offer to meet and share documentary evidence (in 2017 and 2019), evidence any inquiry could not have seen? – If after that correspondence, why was Jim excluded?
On 8th February, CRUK eventually replied, ignoring these questions and simply stating that having reviewed the documents Jim had provided they had not changed their view that the origins of the Race for Life were “not clear.”
On 9th February Jim replied thanking CRUK for their “not unexpected” reply. He stated that it was; “disappointing, but not surprising, that CRUK shows no interest in talking to any of the witnesses who will support my position; something which only strengthens the belief that the aim of the charity’s investigation was not to uncover the truth but to continue denying it.”
He went on; “Beyond speaking to witnesses, might I suggest that if the charity is not acting dishonestly and without integrity, one of the ways to evidence this would be by sharing your investigation, including all of the ‘evidence’ considered? Indeed, any enquiry worth its salt would seek to have full transparency so as not to undermine its findings.”
He then added; “I would be very interested to discover what ‘evidence’ might exist that trumps a clear statement from your own Head of Events stating that the original idea was mine. And if anyone is accusing me of being dishonest in my claim, it is a cornerstone of any worthwhile justice system that I be allowed to defend myself against my accuser.”
He then finished saying; “I look forward, albeit without much hope, to receiving a copy of your investigation.”
Over three weeks later, the silence from CRUK is deafening.
In the absence of a response the only conclusion that can be drawn is that if an inquiry really did take place, it only served one purpose; to continue the cover up and to continue denying Jim the rightful and deserved recognition for being the person who created the Race for Life.
Here at Race 4 Truth we call on Cancer Research UK to open up their so-called ‘inquiry’ to public scrutiny. If it was genuine, what could they possibly have to hide? What could they possibly stand to lose? All without asking why any genuine inquiry wouldn’t seek independence from interested parties, CRUK included?
The truth, as we know, is consistent. And ever since 1993 when he first came up with the idea, Jim Cowan’s version of events has not altered. It has remained consistent, backed by evidence.
Lies, on the other hand, are rarely consistent. They alter to fit need. And, over the last 25+ years, CRUK and their employees have told a range of different tales. They have lacked any consistency and, conveniently, have no records of the early years of Race for Life.
Consistency supported by evidence versus inconsistency supported by lies, hypocrisy, and a refusal to face public scrutiny. Which do you believe?
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
After over a quarter of a century of false claims, lies, hypocrisy, and covering for fraud, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) are now peddling a ridiculous new claim in order to prevent giving Jim Cowan the recognition due for creating the Race for Life.
In an email CRUK’s Director of Fundraising, Simon Ledsham, has made the claim that they had, “explored all reasonable lines of enquiry” and had been “unable to find any solid evidence which supports his Jim Cowan’s claim to be the sole originator of Race for Life.” The claim was repeated a couple of weeks later by CRUK’s Senior Press Officer Thea MacLeod-Hall in another email.
It is a ridiculous claim.
CRUK have previously stated that they have no documentation from the early years of the Race for Life. It is therefore unclear how their investigation was carried out or who was included.
If an internal enquiry, then it was flawed by having no documentation to refer to, and by excluding those, such as Jim, who could provide valuable evidence.
If an enquiry that included external parties, why was Jim not included? After all, they are aware that he does have copies of original documentation, including his own proposal letter and correspondence from their own staff. In addition, they are also aware that Jim could put them in touch with a number of witnesses who could verify the origins of the event. They should also be aware that Jim had even offered to sit down with Michelle Mitchell, CRUK’s CEO, with this evidence as recently as 2017; an offer which was ignored.
Therefore, the only conclusion possible is that their ‘enquiry’ had no intention of uncovering the truth. Their investigation was merely a smoke screen designed to give the impression of having tried to establish the facts while keeping heads firmly stuck in the sand and deliberately missing an opportunity to correct over 25 years of lies. And a crude tool with which to deliberately mislead anyone making enquires.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
While Race 4 Truth has issue with the organisation’s leadership, we feel for those members of staff affected by these cuts and send our best wishes to them all, together with our hopes that they all find new roles at organisations (hopefully with more integrity) very soon.
And wouldn’t now be a good time to have someone like Jim Cowan, someone with the ability to create such a new, groundbreaking, fundraising event on your side instead of having deliberately lied about, ignored and alienated him over so many years?
In the Race For Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind!
The charity sector’s favourite hypocrite is, once again, accepting recognition while continuing to deny any recognition to Jim Cowan, the man who created Race for Life, her charity’s biggest fundraiser.
Yesterday, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) were recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for their “outstanding contribution to tobacco control.” And CRUK’s CEO, Michelle Mitchell wasted no time in telling the world via Twitter.
We are not saying the recognition Mitchell and CRUK received from WHO is not merited, we are highlighting how hypocritical it is to accept recognition for yourself while knowingly denying it to someone else; someone whose creation has raised hundreds of millions of pounds for your charity.
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.
Back in January we catalogued Mitchell and her charity’s shocking record of hypocrisy asking whether she is the UK charity sector’s biggest hypocrite?
It appears it is a crown she is proud to wear. But then, she does love a bit of recognition!
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind!
It is a question we have been asked several times since launching the Race 4 Truth; “why don’t Cancer Research UK sue you?”
The answer, as CRUK are no doubt very aware, is a simple one.
You can’t sue someone for telling the truth. You can’t sue someone for reporting facts.
No, Cancer Research UK choose instead to stay silent. What else can they do without further incriminating themselves? Without exposing more hypocrisy? Without making up more stories about the Race for Life’s history?
Well, there is one thing they could do. Finally tell the truth. But we’re not holding our breath waiting for that to happen.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
We have also had a wry chuckle at her claims to ‘volunteer’ which, given her £250,000 pa salary, is a bit of a hollow claim given most people would define volunteering as giving up their spare time unpaid.
Well, she’s at it again. This time proudly Tweeting to the world that she had ‘volunteered’ at her local CRUK shop.
It is a ridiculous claim and, given the lengths many real volunteers go to for so many causes day in day out is more than a bit hypocritical.
But then, we have come to expect mind boggling hypocrisy from Mitchell. Indeed, if hypocrisy were a sport she would be world class. The £250,000 a year ‘volunteer’.
Instead of spending her time telling us about her fake volunteering, perhaps she could dedicate some time to bringing to an end over a quarter of a century of lies, deceit and hypocrisy and ensure her organisation finally recognise Jim Cowan for creating the Race for Life.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind!
One of the themes which keeps recurring when looking at the behaviours of those who lead Cancer Research UK is that of hypocrisy. At times that hypocrisy is so subtle it could be overlooked by those not aware of the facts of the charity’s treatment of Jim Cowan, the man who created the Race for Life. And we can only wonder at what further hypocrisy they may be displaying in other areas we have less information about.
When the current Chief Executive, Michelle Mitchell, assumed her role a little over a year ago she was taking the reigns of an organisation where hypocrisy was already embedded as standard and acceptable behaviour by those at the top. We were hopeful that a new broom might bring more integrity and address the issue. Far from it. In fact, Mitchell has taken CRUK’s hypocrisy to new levels, and always delivered with a straight face and with no thought for the impact it has on others.
In 2018 we shared articles addressing CRUK’s institutional hypocrisy. We wondered at their then CEO, Sir Harpal Kumar, and his hypocrisy in steadfastly refusing to recognise (or even acknowledge) Jim Cowan for creating the Race for Life while happily accepting recognition for his own work and achievements. Textbook hypocrisy.
We looked at the issue of hypocrisy across the charity and asked whether CRUK is the home of charity sector hypocrisy? And we looked at the charity’s Chairman, and its committees and Board of Trustees and exposed yet more examples of glaring hypocrisy.
So when CRUK announced that Michelle Mitchell would be succeeding Kumar we took the announcement with some optimism that a new leader might prove to be the turning point. That the charity might rediscover integrity and honesty and cease its hypocrisy.
It didn’t take long to discover that optimism was misplaced. Whether Mitchell brought her own hypocrisy with her or whether she just got consumed by CRUK’s institutional hypocrisy we don’t know. We do know that she has taken that hypocrisy to new levels.
On 20th January this year Mitchell tweeted, “A very important reminder today, and every day. Mental health matters, and mental health problems can be devastating. It’s something I’ve seen up close too many times, and proper support is vital.”
On the surface a positive tweet supporting an important issue. Except, and Mitchell is aware of this, her actions expose her comments as nothing more than PR, as spin. And as hypocrisy.
It is hypocrisy. And it is hypocrisy she is aware of and therefore seemingly cares not a joy about. We know she is aware of it because in October last year when marking World Mental Health Day she also spoke about the importance of addressing mental health issues. We reminded her that neither her nor her organisation cared one jot about Jim Cowan’s mental health when spending 25 years lying about him, when covering up the fraud of their own employee who we have evidenced stole the idea for the Race for Life from Jim. When saying CRUK had never heard of Jim when a prospective employer was checking his CV, thus costing him a job offer. The list goes on. The stress, the pressure, the strain placed on Jim has been enormous. Mitchell’s response? Silence.
Does Mitchell or her organisation care about the possible toll on Jim’s mental health? No. Not a jot. To them mental health is a topic they are selective over, a topic with more value as a PR message than one requiring actions to back up their hollow words.
But hypocrisy demonstrated by her statements on mental health, while inexcusable, probably wouldn’t make Mitchell the charity sector’s biggest hypocrite. No, to award her with that title she would have to have displayed consistent hypocrisy across a range of topics, ably supported by statements from the the organisation she heads.
And, in the short time she has been in post as CEO at Cancer Research UK, we have already highlighted numerous examples of this hypocrisy. It is hypocrisy which comes from the top. It is hypocrisy deeply embedded within the charity’s culture.
27th January 2019: We reported on Mitchell’s tweet where she described as “amazing” meeting Grand Challenge winners. The hypocrisy of recognising some while refusing to recognise others was apparently lost on her.
15th April 2019: We reported how, following correspondence with Mitchell it had become abundantly clear that, while she was/is happy to receive recognition for her own work and achievements (including accepting an OBE), she was going to continue with Cancer Research UK’s policy of refusing to recognise Jim Cowan for creating the Race for Life. An example of text book hypocrisy.
4th May 2019: We shared an analysis of correspondence between Jim Cowan and Michelle Mitchell which highlighted the ongoing hypocrisy of both the CEO and the organisation in refusing to recognise Jim Cowan for his amazing creation. The analysis also highlighted how Mitchell’s (delegated) response has failed to address a single issue raised in Jim’s correspondence. Given the importance Mitchell claims to place on collaboration (see 23rd October 2019 below) we can only wonder at her continued desire not to recognise the importance to her organisation of Jim choosing to collaborate with her charity when he created the Race for Life? It is clearly hypocritical and surely any sensible person or organisation would think twice before collaborating with CRUK in future, especially given their willingness to cover up the fraud of their employee who stole the idea from Jim. Textbook hypocrisy but definitely not textbook collaboration.
5th June 2019: To mark Volunteers Week, Cancer Research UK were again busy on social media, busy thanking and recognising their volunteers. This is as it should be but we questioned the sincerity of those thanks given that no such words of thanks, or even recognition has ever been extended to Jim Cowan for creating the Race for Life. Hypocritically given thank-yous are not thank-yous at all, merely hollow words.
11th June 2019: We gave Mitchell a new title as Cancer Research UK’s ‘Hypocrite in Chief’ when reporting how, yet again, she was gushing on Twitter about CRUK employees receiving recognition for their achievements in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Again, the hypocrisy of doing so while refusing any recognition to Jim Cowan for his incredible creation seemed to pass her by.
13th June 2019: Again the social media world was awash with posts and tweets from CRUK. This time they were asking people to nominate their Race for Life Hero (or Heroes). With a straight face they asked for nominations in the full knowledge that without Jim Cowan there would be no Race for Life and therefore no Race for Life Heroes. Our supporters rallied around and nominated Jim as their Hero. Sadly theirs were the only posts and tweets responding to the request which received no reply. Mitchell’s organisation once again providing an outstanding example of hypocrisy.
7th August 2019: We questioned the hypocrisy of Cancer Research UK selling pitches to caterers who were selling bacon rolls and other bacon products at 2019 Race for Life venues. Why? This is the same Cancer Research UK, the one led by Mitchell, which warns people that bacon is carcinogenic (cancer causing). We wondered whether they saw the hypocrisy in effectively saying, “Bacon is carcinogenic. It causes cancer. Here, have a bacon roll while we pop to the bank!”
15th August 2019: In an interview in Third Sector magazine, Ed Aspell, CRUK’s Director of Fundraising announced plans to retire at the end of the year. In the interview Aspel revealed that he would love to have come up with “that one, radical, transformational change that is different from the traditional model…” Had he done so, it is very reasonable to assume the charity would have lauded his achievement and praised him with recognition. The very opposite of what they have done with Jim Cowan who came up with just such a game changer when creating the Race for Life in 1993.
17th September 2019: Having tweeted about talking to Cancer Research UK supporters about the charity’s history, we replied to her asking how accurate that history is? After all, we know that her organisation has spent over a quarter of a century trying to rewrite the history of the Race for Life and attempting to erase its creator from its history. What we don’t know is what else the charity claims as its ‘history’ is also made up to fit whatever tale they would rather spin. How anyone could be expected to trust any organisation, let alone a charity, which acts in this way, we are at a loss to explain. The ensuing silence from Mitchell suggests she is too.
23rd October 2019: Addressing the NPC Ignites conference, Mitchell talked at length about the importance of collaboration to the charity sector. We can only wonder at her sincerity given her organisation’s history of stealing ideas from those seeking to collaborate with them. The Race for Life comes to mind. Maybe not sincerity, more hypocrisy. We raised the issue with her but, as per usual, the silence in response was deafening. And it wasn’t a one off oversight on her part. Mitchell has continued voicing her hypocritical line on collaboration since, for example in Civil Society magazine on 26th November.
4th November 2019: After a supporter got in touch to tell us about Mitchell’s hypocritical tweet on 10th October marking World Mental Health Day, we reported the facts, highlighted the hypocrisy, and via Twitter (seemingly her favourite platform for communication) asked Mitchell if she cared to reply? Other than as a tool for PR and spin, mental health is not as important a subject to Mitchell and her organisation as they would like us to believe. Or is it just Jim Cowan’s mental health she cares nothing about? Whichever it is, her hypocrisy is laid bare for all to see.
8th January 2020: Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s Media Relations Officer in Scotland, tweeted that she was “so proud to be a part of this” when retweeting a Race for Life tweet. Given her profile states ‘media with honesty’ we challenged her on whether she would be “applying some of that honesty and recognising the man who created the Race for Life? Or did she support CRUK’s lies for the last 25 years, covering up of fraud, etc. Honesty: words or deeds?” Her response was to hide our tweet. Media with honesty? Or gross hypocrisy? You decide.
12th January 2020: In a repeat of their hypocrisy of 13th June 2019 (see above), the charity headed by Mitchell again asked for nominations for Race for Life Heroes. Race 4 Truth supporters again rallied round and nominated Jim Cowan. Again, they were the only nominations, to date, to be ignored.
20th January 2020: As reported above, Mitchell again used the issue of mental health for PR and spin purposes. At least we assume it to be PR and spin because, surely, if she really took the issue seriously she would give far greater consideration to Jim Cowan’s mental health given her charity’s shocking treatment of him.
It is quite a year (and a bit) Mitchell has had in her new role. It is far from easy to reach, let alone sustain, such levels of hypocrisy. That hypocrisy has, under her leadership, reached new levels and remained deeply embedded in the culture at Cancer Research UK.
We find it hard to believe there can be a more hypocritical CEO in the charity sector, or a charity where hypocrisy is more deeply embedded than at Cancer Research UK. And we can only wonder at the breadth and depth of that hypocrisy given what we have discovered is likely to only scratch the surface given the size of the organisation.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘Hypocrisy’ thus: 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: e.g “There’s one rule for her and another rule for everyone else and it’s sheer hypocrisy.”
Created by Jim Cowan, the Race for Life, is well on its way to raising its first £1 Billion. An astonishing amount.
If that isn’t worthy of recognition, we struggle to figure out what is. And it is in the accepting of recognition for themselves while denying it to others that the hypocrisy of Michelle Mitchell and Cancer Research UK really stands out.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.