Tag Archives: Imperial Cancer Research Fund

THE TRUE STORY OF HOW THE RACE FOR LIFE WAS BORN

Early in 1993, John Cowan was diagnosed with the Prostate Cancer which would eventually take his life. The diagnosis motivated John’s son, Jim, to create a fundraising event to support the fight against cancer.

Through the summer of 1993, he researched what events already existed and searched for a ‘gap in the market’ – a gap big enough that it could be fully exploited to raise significant funds and increase awareness.

Although his starting point was his father’s Prostate Cancer, he ended up creating an event which raised funds for, and raised awareness of, women’s cancers. That event was to be called ‘The Race For Life.’

Jim had already organised a number of different fundraising events for good causes and also organised some road running events.

Using the road running events as a starting point, he identified that women were seriously underrepresented in running events, often with fewer than 15% of fields. It occurred to him that, surely, more women must want to run these events but, for some reason, weren’t, So, he decided to discover why not?

He found three key things were preventing women from taking part in road running:
1. The distances were generally considered too long. At the time most events were 5 miles and further. 5km road events were few and far between, 5000m being seen more as a track athlete’s event.

2. The events that were available were not viewed as ‘female friendly.’ The general atmosphere was very male dominated and, it was felt, unwelcoming for women.

3. Existing races were overly competitive, very serious and, put simply, just not fun.

Jim realised that, providing a solution to these issues would combine very well with his desire to create a new fundraising event to support the fight against cancer. That solution was to create a series of 5km runs, open only to women, which focused on fun not on competition. He called his idea, ‘The Race For Life.’

Initially, Jim took his idea to a breast cancer charity which, following consideration, declined the idea having decided it would not work. Then a conversation with a friend at his local athletic club opened the door to making an approach to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF – Cancer Research UK’s former name). That friend was about to start temping at the charity and promised to find a contact name for Jim to approach.

This she did, and on 5th October 1993 Jim wrote to ICRF’s Events Manager, Jill MacRae (nee Baker), outlining his idea. A meeting was arranged, which then led to Jim organising the very first Race for Life in Battersea Park in 1994.

The rest should be a matter of historical record. However, following the successful launch Jill MacRae decided to falsely claim the idea as her own and ICRF, and later CRUK, have denied the idea was Jim’s, coming up with a range of different stories and whitewashing him from any mention in association with the event.

It is time for Cancer Research UK to do the right thing, stop the lies, and recognise Jim for his amazing creation, one which has benefitted the charity by many hundreds of millions of pounds, opened up running to women, and which changed the fundraising landscape in the UK forever. And, one which should be a fitting tribute from a son to his deceased father.

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

Below, a copy of Jim’s original letter proposing the Race for Life to ICRF/CRUK.

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!

CANCER RESEARCH UK’S MANY & VARIED TALES ON THE CREATION OF THE RACE FOR LIFE

Given Cancer Research UK’s continued lies about Jim Cowan and the claim he did not create the Race for Life, even recently costing him a job offer, you would think they would offer an alternative as to where the event started, as to how it was created.

After all, they must have records of the discussions and the meetings which led to the event’s creation? And, given that, surely they paint a consistent story as to the events beginnings?

Well, no. They don’t. But that is the problem with falsehoods, eventually you forget what you claimed and claim something else. And, of course, you have no evidence to support your fiction because it is just that, fiction. No records of discussions, of meetings, of correspondence. Because they don’t exist.

Interested in checking out Cancer Research UK’s false claims, we did a little research which has exposed a story which keeps changing. There may be more and different claims, but in less than a day’s digging, this is what we have uncovered:

1994

In a letter from Jill MacRae (nee Baker), its then National Events Manager, what was then the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) credited Jim Cowan with coming to them with the original idea for the Race for Life. This was the last time they were honest about who created the event.

1995

After severing all ties to Jim Cowan, Jill MacRae started to claim she came up with the Race for Life herself. It would appear that ICRF/CRUK believed her. She went on to build a successful career in the sector on her false claim.

2000

In an article in the 19th July issue of Athletics Weekly, an ICRF/CRUK spokesperson claimed that the Race for Life was based on, “a concept from America called Walk for a Cure.”

In the same issue of Athletics Weekly, a letter from Louise Holland, the Race for Life’s then Director, stated, “the concept was taken from the Susan Komen Foundation.”

2013

In November of 2013, Jill MacRae contacted Jim Cowan via Linked In and email threatening legal action if he did not stop claiming to have created the Race for Life. Supported by Jane Arnell, Tony Elischer, and Sarah Guthrie (former colleagues of hers at ICRF/CRUK), she claimed they were all “shocked” by Jim’s “misleading claims.” 

MacRae claimed to have never heard of Jim Cowan and asserted that her colleagues had not either. This 1994 letter from Jill MacRae to Jim Cowan puts the lie to that lie. Since launching Race 4 Truth last year, we have shared other evidence that includes correspondence to and from Jill Macrae to support Jim’s position.

Also in November of 2013, Jill MacRae amended the Race for Life entry on Wikipedia to state; “Race for Life was created by fundraisers Jill MacRae (nee Baker) and Jane Arnell at what was then the Imperial CancerResearch Fund.” At Jim’s request, supported by evidence, Wikipedia amended the page to show the truth, that the creator of the Race for Life was him.

On 12th December, Jim Cowan responded to Jill MacRae’s threats stating; “To say that I am surprised at both your claims and you accusation would be an understatement. Your cynical duplicity in laying claim to the original idea is preposterous and your accusation that my own claims are untrue is a gross misrepresentation of the facts.”

He added, “It also appears that at some stage you made a conscious decision to claim the idea as your own, whether by misleading your colleagues at the ICRF or with their collusion is unclear.” 

Jim has not heard from MacRae, or her colleagues, since.

2016

Jim Cowan was advised that the website ‘Informed Edinburgh’ had carried an article titled ‘Spotlight on Jill MacRae’ in which she stated; “I created the Race for Life and organised the very first 5K event way back in 1993 (sic), when I was National Events Manager at what is now Cancer Research UK.” The article was removed after Jim contacted the website advising them that, “Ms MacRae knows this not to be the case.” Indeed, she doesn’t even seem to know in which year the first Race for Life was staged (it was 1994 and was organised by Jim Cowan).

2017

In May 2017 , Nicki Ford from Cancer Research UK stated, “We do not publicly credit anyone with originating the event.”

In September 2017, Cancer Research UK’s Chairman, Prof. Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, stated, “We do not credit anyone with originating the event.”

It would appear that, unable to prove any of their previous claims Cancer Research UK and Jill MacRae had made about the creation of the event, the policy was now to simply shut up and claim nothing.

2018

Maybe she didn’t get the memo shared by Ford and Borysiewicz, or maybe it was just time to change the claim again. In May of 2018 Cancer Research UK’s current National Events Manager, Annette Quarry, stated that the original pilot was from yet another different source, this time the American Cancer Society.

2019

Writing on behalf of Cancer Research UK’s new Chief Executive (Michelle Mitchell), CRUK’s Complaints Manager (Graeme McCluskey) repeated the “we do not publicly credit anyone with originating the event line.” This was in response to Jim Cowan offering to sit down and share documents evidencing his being the event’s creator. 

Indeed, rather than accept the offer, CRUK’s stance was to state the blindingly obvious, that they have no documents from the beginnings of the Race for Life. Rather than correct the misinformation they have shared for 25 years, rather than get the history of the event right, they deliberately chose to continue their integrity fee campaign to erase Jim Cowan from the event’s history.

We now wait with baited breath for the next claim as to the creation of the Race for Life. There are two things we know for sure though:

  1. While CRUK’s story keeps changing, Jim Cowan’s has remained consistent throughout. 
  2. While CRUK and their various employees (current and former) have offered no supporting evidence for any of their claims, Jim Cowan has.

The truth is consistent. Cancer Research UK are not.

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

IN CRUK’s OWN WORDS – JIM COWAN CREATED THE RACE FOR LIFE

Cancer Research UK might continue to deny Jim Cowan had anything to do with the Race for Life but, in doing so, they ignore correspondence which clearly shows that he came to them with the ‘original idea’ (their words).

One such example is the letter below from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund’s (Cancer Research UK’s then name) National Events Manager Jill MacRae in which she states; “Mr Cowan came to us with the original idea..…”

Interestingly, as we have evidenced in a recent article, Jill MacRae is one of the people who has fraudulently since claimed to have created the event herself, it appears with the full endorsement of Cancer Research UK, just one of many ‘stories’ used by that organisation to deny Jim the recognition he so rightly deserves.

It is time for Cancer Research UK to stop lying and to put right the wrongs done to Jim and give him the credit he deserves.

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

A CAREER BUILT ON A BAREFACED LIE

In 1993 when serial fundraiser Jim Cowan’s father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he came up with the idea for the Race for Life and he took the idea to Cancer Research UK (then called Imperial Cancer Research Fund – ICRF) and their Head of Events, Jill MacRae (nee Baker).

The proposal was simple; Jim would organise the event at a growing number of venues every year beginning with a central London run in the summer of 1994. 

What followed saw Jim written from the event’s history by MacRae, her successors at Cancer Research UK (CRUK), and by the charity itself; while MacRae built a career in the sector on the back of falsely claiming the idea as her own.

Jim did organise the 1994 Race for Life, staged in Battersea Park, and then began work on expanding to six venues in 1995 and twelve in 1996. However, before he could proceed he received a phone call from MacRae informing him that his services were no longer required. 

Jim sought legal advice to be told that an idea could not be copyrighted and that therefore there was nothing he could do. Frustrated and angry but seeing no alternative, Jim turned his mind to other ideas and projects; ideas and projects that have raised many millions for a range of other charities.

The Race for Life went from strength to strength growing into the event Jim forecast his idea would become. Unfortunately, his name was whitewashed from its history with CRUK choosing to tell a range of different, false stories about the event’s origins.

Meanwhile, MacRae had started claiming that she was the creator of the Race for Life. On the back of that barefaced lie, she went on to build a successful career in the charity sector.

But then something happened, something that could not have been predicted in 1994. Social media arrived and exploded. Suddenly, MacRae’s friends were asking her who Jim Cowan was? Why was he appearing on Linked In, Facebook, and elsewhere claiming to have created the Race for Life when MacRae had (or, they thought she had)?

Boxed into a corner MacRae gambled that, over twenty years later, Jim would have none of the original paperwork. She wrote to Jim brazenly accusing him of falsely claiming what she described as her idea, insisting he stop doing so. She claimed she did not even know who Jim was, that she had never heard of him. She copied in former colleagues from CRUK, effectively making her accusations libellous by sharing them in print. She also edited the Wikipedia page for the Race for Life, amending it to give her and former colleague Jane Arnell as the originators of the event.

Jim responded in robust fashion, reminding MacRae that she had actually written to him acknowledging the event was his creation, stating how excited she was at the prospect of meeting and working with him. He added, “It also appears that at some stage you made a conscious decision to claim the idea as your own, whether by misleading your colleagues at the ICRF or with their collusion is unclear.” He then made it clear that Macrae, “should be advised that should you continue to make false accusations against or about me and which may lead to personal and/or professional damage I will defend myself and my reputation vigorously.

Jim also contacted Wikipedia, providing evidence as to his truth (and therefore MacRae’s lie) and they promptly corrected the page to reflect facts.

Jim has not heard from MacRae (or her colleagues) since and, following Jim’s robust response any claims to her being the creator of the Race for Life disappeared from her social media profiles. Unfortunately for her, it is the nature of the internet that a lie once told cannot be taken back and stories continue to emerge of her making her false claim.

However, the damage was done. Cancer Research UK continue to refuse to recognise, let alone thank, Jim for his incredible creation. Their current position is that they credit no one, a somewhat ridiculous position given that for the previous 25 years they have credited a range of different (incorrect) origins for the event. Given they have admitted that they have no records from the event’s beginnings, suspicious in itself, how they could make these various claims is anyone’s guess.

It is also worth noting the hypocrisy of an organisation always happy to accept recognition from others but who refuse to give the recognition due to Jim.

And what of MacRae? 

Her lie certainly enhanced her CV and has not held her back in her career since. After leaving CRUK in 1996, according to her Linked In profile she has worked in a range of high profile roles:
British Lung Foundation (Fundraising Manager)
National Autistic Society (Fundraising Manager)
PZA Consulting (Associate Consultant)
Blether Media (Director)
AmbITion Scotland (Specialist Advisor)
Scottish Women In Business (Committee Member)
Visibility (Fundraising & Business Development Manager)
Barnardo’s (Business Development Manager and, currently, as Acting Assistant Director Business Development)

And, while MacRae’s suspect CV has done her no harm (if she has lied about the Race for Life, could she have other fictional episodes recorded?), Jim’s honest CV has been brought into question when Cancer Research UK told a prospective employer fact checking his CV that they had “never heard of him.”

It is a tale of a man whitewashed from the history of the hugely successful event he created and who has then subsequently been lied about and ignored; and a tale of a woman who stole that idea and who has built a successful career on the back of that barefaced lie.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK (and Jill MacRae) are lagging behind.

FURTHER READING:
How The Race For Life Came About
Cancer Research UK Refusing To Correct Twenty Five Years Of Lying About Race For Life
Were False Claims About Who Created The Race For Life Fraud?
Race For Life on Wikipedia
More Evidence Emerges Of The Potentially Fraudulent Claim As To Who Created Race For Life
Hypocrisy Is Deeply Embedded Within The Culture Of Cancer Research UK
New Cancer Research UK CEO Will Continue The Hypocrisy Of Her Predecessor
Jill MacRae’s Linked In Profile
How Cancer Research UK Lie Cost Race For Life Creator A Job Offer

CANCER RESEARCH UK REFUSING TO CORRECT TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF LYING ABOUT RACE FOR LIFE

For 25 years, Cancer Research UK have lied about Jim Cowan and the creation of the Race for Life. Their lies have cost him the recognition and thanks he so thoroughly deserves and have even cost him a job offer. 

Sadly, even though they know the facts, rather than correct 25 years of lies, they have chosen to simply pretend the lies never happened and have assumed a stance which continues to exclude Jim from his rightful place in the event’s history.

The problem with falsehoods, with lies, is that eventually you forget what you claimed and claim something else entirely, catching yourself out. And, of course, you have no evidence to support your fiction because it is just that, fiction. No records of discussions, of meetings, of correspondence. Because they don’t exist.

Indeed, in recent correspondence, Cancer Research UK acknowledged that they have kept no records from the creation and launch of the landmark fundraising event. But, ever keeping their heads in the sand when confronted by facts, they declined Jim Cowan’s offer to meet with them and share copies of documents from 1993 and 1994 which clearly evidence the idea was his and his alone.

But how many lies have been told in that quarter of a century? We have no way of knowing! So, interested in checking out Cancer Research UK’s false claims, Race 4 Truth carried out a little research which has exposed a story which, as such fictions do, keeps changing. There may be more and different claims, but in less than one day’s digging, this is what we uncovered:

1994

In a letter from Jill MacRae, its then National Events Manager, what was then the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) credited Jim Cowan with coming to them with the original idea for the Race for Life. This was the last time they were honest about who created the event.

1995

After severing all ties to Jim Cowan, Jill MacRae started to claim she came up with the Race for Life herself. It would appear that ICRF/CRUK believed her. She went on to build a career on the false, probably fraudulent, claim and is currently the Business Development Manager at Barnardo’s.

2000

In an article in the 19th July issue of Athletics Weekly, an ICRF spokesperson claimed that the Race for Life was based on, “a concept from America called Walk for a Cure.” In the same issue of Athletics Weekly, a letter from Louise Holland, ICRF’s Race for Life Director, stated, “the concept was taken from the Susan Komen Foundation.” They couldn’t even keep their lies consistent for a week

2013

In November of 2013, Jill MacRae contacted Jim Cowan via Linked In and email threatening legal action if he did not stop claiming to have created the Race for Life. Supported by Jane Arnell, Tony Elischer, and Sarah Guthrie (former colleagues of hers at ICRF/CRUK), she claimed they were all “shocked” by Jim’s “misleading claims.” MacRae claimed to have never heard of Jim Cowan and asserted that her colleagues had not either. The 1994 letter from Jill MacRae to Jim Cowan puts the lie to that lie. Over the past year, we have shared more evidence that includes correspondence to and from Jill Macrae to support Jim’s position and which debunks MacRae’s lies.

Also in November of 2013, Jill MacRae amended the Race for Life entry on Wikipedia to state; “Race for Life was created by fundraisers Jill MacRae (nee Baker) and Jane Arnell at what was then the Imperial CancerResearch Fund.” At Jim’s request, supported by evidence, Wikipedia amended the page to show the truth, that the creator of the Race for Life was him.

On 12th December, Jim Cowan responded to Jill MacRae’s threats stating; “To say that I am surprised at both your claims and you accusation would be an understatement. Your cynical duplicity in laying claim to the original idea is preposterous and your accusation that my own claims are untrue is a gross misrepresentation of the facts.”

Jim has not heard from MacRae, or her colleagues, since. Why not, we wonder? Interestingly, MacRae has since removed the false claim from all of her online profiles. We wonder whether she still uses the lie on her CV? That, of course, would be fraud.

2016

Jim Cowan was advised that the website ‘Informed Edinburgh’ had carried an article titled ‘Spotlight on Jill MacRae’ in which she stated; “I created the Race for Life and organised the very first 5K event way back in 1993 (sic), when I was National Events Manager at what is now Cancer Research UK. The article was removed after Jim contacted the website advising them that, “Ms MacRae knows this not to be the case” providing evidence debunking her lie.

2017

In May 2017 , Nicki Ford from Cancer Research UK stated, “We do not publicly credit anyone with originating the event.”

In September 2017, Cancer Research UK’s Chairman, Prof. Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, stated, “We do not credit anyone with originating the event.”

It would appear that, unable to prove any of the previous claims Cancer Research UK and, primarily, Jill MacRae had made about the creation of the event (how could they?), the policy was now to simply shut up and claim nothing.

2018

Maybe she didn’t get the memo shared by Ford and Borysiewicz, or maybe it was just time to change the claim again, but in May 2018, Cancer Research UK’s current National Events Manager, Annette Quarry, stated that the original pilot was from yet another different source, this time the American Cancer Society.

2019

We had hoped that Cancer Research UK’s new Chief Executive, Michelle Mitchell, might take the opportunity to put the record straight and restore some of the charity’s missing integrity. Unfortunately not. Despite Jim’s offer to meet her and provide her with documentary evidence, she ducked responding herself, delegating the task to her Complaints Manager, Graeme McCluskey. He used the excuse that the organisation do not have any internal records of Jim’s involvement with the Race for Life. In place of taking the opportunity to view and discuss evidence, Cancer Research UK have kept their collective heads buried deep in the sand. An opportunity to correct 25 years of lies was passed up; no corrections, no apologies, just very deliberate ignorance of the facts displaying a complete absence of integrity

We now wait with baited breath for the next claim as to the creation of the Race for Life. There are two things we know for sure though:

  1. While CRUK’s story has kept changing, Jim Cowan’s has remained consistent throughout.
  2. While CRUK and their various employees (current and former) have offered no supporting evidence for any of their claims, Jim Cowan has. Race 4 Truth will continue sharing that evidence over the coming weeks, months, and years.

Here is another fact for Cancer Research UK; the truth is consistent, it has no need to vary its story in the way that Cancer Research UK’s fiction has. Jim’s truth can be proven. Their lies cannot. 

Ask yourself, who do you believe? Jim Cowan or Cancer Research UK?

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

RACE FOR LIFE CREATOR IGNORED AS EVENT REACHES ITS 25TH BIRTHDAY

2019 marks 25 years since the very first Race for Life was staged in 1994 in London’s Battersea Park.

Most organisations might choose such a landmark as an opportunity to thank the person who created such a successful event, but not Cancer Research UK.

Jim Cowan came up with the idea for the event in 1993 following his father’s terminal cancer diagnosis. He took the idea to what was then the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) and organised the first Race for Life a year later.

Unfortunately for Jim, the ICRF’s the Events Manager, Jill MacRae, decided to claim the idea as her own and went on to build a successful career in the charity sector on the back of her deception while Jim was told he was surplus to requirements.

Over the intervening years ICRF became Cancer Research UK (CRUK), MacRae moved on, and CRUK lost track of how the enormously successful event had begun, crediting a range of incorrect sources but ignoring Jim.

Nowadays, the people at the top of the charity know the facts but choose to ignore them, not even correcting the incorrect credits of the past. Jim continues to be ignored and, far from being recognised, thanked, or involved in the 25th birthday celebration of his creation, finds himself written out of its history by the charity it has done so much for.

We leave it to others to judge the level of integrity displayed by CRUK in their actions, instead choosing to thank Jim for his incredible, amazing creation; one which has undoubtedly saved  many lives and changed tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of others for the better.

CRUK won’t say it, but we will. Thank you Jim! 

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

HYPOCRISY IS DEEPLY EMBEDDED WITHIN THE CULTURE OF CANCER RESEARCH UK

What is hypocrisy?

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines it 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 this definition fits perfectly in describing the culture within Cancer Research UK and its policy of accepting recognition both individually and collectively while refusing to offer recognition to Jim Cowan, the person who created their most popular and significant fundraising event; the Race for Life.

This culture of hypocrisy comes from the very top of the organisation with the new CEO, Michelle Mitchell, leading the way in continuing the practice embedded by her predecessor, Harpal Kumar. Both have refused to recognise Jim Cowan for his incredible contribution to the charity’s fundraising and yet both are happy to accept recognition for their own work, including a knighthood by Kumar and an OBE by Mitchell.

The organisation’s Chairman, Leszek Borysiewicz, is no better. He endorses the refusal to recognise Cowan but has also accepted recognition for himself in the form of his knighthood.

What about Cancer Research UK’s committees and trustee membership? On page 45 of their 2017/18 Annual Report we can see that the thirteen strong list includes three knights and one dame. Yes, the hypocrisy runs deep within the very fabric of the charity and is clearly endorsed from the top down.

What of other examples? There are many and anyone following the organisation’s social media will see regular tweets and posts offering recognition and thanks to those who help the charity, and thanking those who recognise them. But recognition for Jim Cowan, not a peep.

Examples include using Father’s Day as a marketing tool and calling on people to honour fathers affected by cancer while ignoring Jim Cowan and denying him recognition for creating the event, 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.

How about Cancer Research UK’s own 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 they again demonstrate that deeply embedded cultural hypocrisy.

Then there was Nicholas McGranahan, group leader at the CRUK-UCL Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence, who last year won the MD Anderson Wilson Stone Memorial Award. 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. 

The examples are many, of which these are but a few, led by the people at the very top of the charity every one of them providing a dictionary definition example of the hypocrisy which is not only embedded within the organisation but actively encouraged by Cancer Research UK’s leadership.

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 and most popular fundraising event deserve recognition (if not thanks) too?

Recognition for Jim Cowan is long, long overdue, a quarter of a century overdue. We had hoped that change at the top at Cancer Research UK would finally bring that change. Unfortunately, hypocrisy continues to reign supreme.

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

CANCER RESEARCH UK TAKING AN OSTRICH LIKE VIEW TO FACTS

In our most recent articles we have shared correspondence from both Race 4 Truth and from Jim Cowan to Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s new Chief Executive, asking her to reconsider the organisation’s refusal to recognise Jim for creating the Race for Life.

For your reference, you can read our letter to Mitchell here, and her non-response here, followed by Jim Cowan’s follow up to her here.

After a wait of four weeks, Jim did eventually receive a reply although not from Mitchell, instead from her organisation’s Complaints Manager, Graeme McCluskey. We share that letter here with analysis of its content below.

It is perhaps telling that Mitchell does not extend the courtesy of replying herself, perhaps choosing to create distance between herself and the charity’s continuing and deliberate ignoring of the facts?

We had hoped when Mitchell was appointed that a new broom might see the dawn of a new culture at CRUK however, the reference to CRUK Chairman Sir Leszek Borysiewicz’s September 2017 correspondence tells us that under the new CEO’s guidance it will be ‘old broom, old culture’ – a culture lacking integrity and of questionable ethics, not to mention hugely hypocritical.

McCluskey, on behalf of Mitchell, repeats the mantra of “we do not credit anyone with originating any of our events”, stating that CRUK’s position has not changed. It sounds reasonable but is far from it.

  1. Cancer Research UK lied about the origins of the Race for Life for nearly a quarter of a century (outlined here). The ‘we do not credit anyone’ line was introduced in 2017 solely to avoid having to face up to and admit those lies. Many of those lies remain in the public domain, uncorrected. Any organisation with integrity would address this as a matter of urgency.
  2. The Race for Life is the only CRUK event which was not developed in-house or by hired contractor. Therefore any rule applying to it being developed internally and individuals responsible not being recognised should not apply.
  3. The event was entirely conceived independently of CRUK by Jim Cowan (see article here) and with the intention he organise and develop it. After he took it to Cancer Research UK (then known as Imperial Cancer Research Fund) proposing it could be a huge event raising funds for them, it was their staff who effectively stole the event by trademarking it behind Jim’s back before informing him he was no longer needed.
  4. They regularly credit, recognise, and thank individuals and organisations external to CRUK for organising fundraising events and challenges for them. Hypocrisy at its best.
  5. They happily accept recognition both for individuals and collectively as an organisation from external bodies. More hypocrisy.
  6. And even more hypocritically, their Chairman (a knighthood), their previous CEO (a knighthood – see article here), and Mitchell herself (an OBE) have happily accepted honours in recognition of their own achievements while refusing to recognise Jim Cowan.

McCluskey’s letter continues by claiming the charity has no record of the communication regarding the job opportunity lost to Jim when CRUK stated they had never heard of him (article here). Apart from being very convenient, it seems to support a view that record keeping within the organisation is somewhat lax and a long way short of what should be expected.

Cancer Research UK, the letter states, has neither employee nor contractor records going back to 1994. What the relevance of this is we do not know, other than to deliberately evade the fact that Jim Cowan was neither an employee nor a contractor in 1993 when he proposed the event to them, nor in 1994 when he organised the very first Race for Life.

McCluskey then reports that his organisation has no internal records of Jim’s involvement either,  suggesting they know he was neither employee nor contractor.

  1. Apart from being very convenient for CRUK it is also not unsurprising given it is highly likely that their then employee Jill MacRae would have covered her tracks and removed evidence to the contrary when falsely and fraudulently claiming to be the event’s originator in 1994/5 (details here and here).
  2. Regardless of (1), Jim offered to meet and share documentary evidence with Mitchell. Given the admission that CRUK has no documentary evidence of their own concerning the origins of the event, some might consider it strange that they have no interest (indeed, make no mention of) this offer. This is the ostrich approach, keeping their heads buried in the sand to avoid hearing facts that support a truth they know but won’t acknowledge. Yet again, this brings the organisation’s integrity into question.
  3. They know the lies they told over 25 years do not hold water. Indeed their lies contradict each other so frequently did they change their story prior to assuming their present ‘we don’t credit anyone’ position. They know they backed a fake and a fraudster in MacRae and rather than do the right thing and show some integrity they choose to keep the truth buried, thereby continuing to support the lie through their silence and their ‘credit no one’ stance.
  4. Indeed, it is about much more than giving credit where credit is due; it is about doing the right thing. What is it that they are so scared of that they do not even want to meet Jim to see and discuss his evidence which includes original documentation?
  5. The only logical conclusion is that they lack the collective moral compass, moral leadership and integrity to do the right thing and admit that they got it wrong.
  6. CRUK’s stance stems back to MacRae’s theft of the event from Jim. Everything since has been to protect that lie. Maybe initially CRUK were unaware but integrity would demand that once exposed, the lie be corrected, apologies made, and due recognition given.

Without correcting the lies of the last 25 years, many of their own staff are in ignorance of the event’s origins having been sold those same lies by their employer; a situation damning of the organisation’s leadership over that time. This is demonstrated by their National Events Manager, Annette Quarry’s (a CRUK employee of over ten years) misinformed insistence that the event originated with the American Cancer Society. This, in 2018 after the ‘credit no one’ policy was supposedly in place. One can only wonder at which version of CRUK’s fake history others in their current and former employ subscribe to. We do know it won’t be the factual version.

In addition to highlighting a disturbing absence in integrity within such a large charity, the ‘credit no one’ stance is extremely hypocritical.

  1. As mentioned above, Borysiewicz (Chairman), Harpal Kumar (previous CEO), and Mitchell have all accepted recognition for themselves while denying recognition for Jim Cowan.
  2. CRUK and Race for Life’s social media are littered with recognition and thanks for their own staff and volunteers while continuing to deny any recognition to Jim Cowan.
  3. CRUK are happy to accept recognition and thanks from others while continuing to deny any recognition and thanks to Jim Cowan.
  4. CRUK regularly thank and recognise a range of external fundraisers, volunteers, and events while (you guessed it) continuing to deny any recognition and thanks to Jim Cowan.

Given all of the above, is it any wonder that Mitchell has chosen not to meet with Jim? Is it any wonder that she delegated even replying to his letter? Perhaps, she is fully aware of the facts around the creation of the Race for Life, she is aware that the charity she now leads has lied about that creation for a quarter of a century? Whether she is aware or not, she should be. It is part of her role as CEO to be informed on such matters. The integrity and moral compass of the charity are being brought into question under her watch. That she chooses to distance herself is incriminating even without considering any/all of the above.

The correspondence between Race 4 Truth, Michelle Mitchell, and Jim Cowan started in January and concluded in April. During that correspondence Race 4 Truth and Jim raised several key points to Mitchell, points which needed addressing or, at a minimum, acknowledging:

  1. That the original motivation behind Jim creating the Race for Life was his own father’s eventually fatal cancer diagnosis. IGNORED BY CANCER RESEARCH UK
  2. That there was documentary evidence available to support the facts and to prove that Jim was the creator of the Race for Life. IGNORED BY CANCER RESEARCH UK
  3. That, in addition to documentary evidence, witnesses were available to support the fact that Jim created the Race for Life. IGNORED BY CANCER RESEARCH UK
  4. That one of their own employees falsely and fraudulently claimed to be the originator of the Race for Life. IGNORED BY CANCER RESEARCH UK
  5. The question of the integrity of the charity were its current stance on the creation of the Race for Life to continue. IGNORED BY CANCER RESEARCH UK
  6. The question of hypocrisy of the charity and, individually, of its leadership were its current stance on the creation of the Race for Life to continue. IGNORED BY CANCER RESEARCH UK
  7. The offer to meet, discuss and share evidence proving who was responsible for the creation of the Race for Life was also IGNORED BY CANCER RESEARCH UK

In the interests of balance, the following are those items raised during our correspondence not ignored by Cancer Research UK:

1.

Cancer Research UK’s stance can only be described as ostrich like. They know the facts are out there, they know they have been wrong for 25 years, but so long as they keep their head buried in the sand, they can continue to ignore the truth.

IN THE RACE 4 TRUTH, CANCER RESEARCH UK ARE LAGGING BEHIND.

JIM COWAN’S RESPONSE TO CRUK CEO MICHELLE MITCHELL

On 18th April we shared details of our letter to Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s new Chief Executive, regarding that charity’s disgraceful and continued refusal to recognise Jim Cowan for creating the Race for Life.

On 23rd April, we shared Mitchell’s non-reply which stated their hypocritical most recent position that they do not recognise anyone with originating any of their events. Other than that statement, her reply ducked all the points raised, stating that as they related to Mr Cowan she would be unable to enter into communication.

We shared our original letter and Mitchell’s reply with Jim and he decided to write his own letter to the CEO of CRUK in the hope that, as her reply had suggested, she might be willing to enter into communication with him.

With Jim’s consent, we share his letter here. We feel it speaks for itself. We will share and analyse Mitchell’s response in the coming days.

More to follow…

IN THE RACE 4 TRUTH, CANCER RESEARCH UK ARE LAGGING BEHIND.