Join us in our #TheSilenceIsDeafening social media campaign and help get Race for Life creator Jim Cowan the recognition and justice he deserves.
On 10th May Race for Life creator, Jim Cowan, wrote an open letter to Cancer Research UK’s Chief Executive, Michelle Mitchell, as well as to every single member of CRUK’s Board of Trustees.
The purpose of his letter was a simple one, that CRUK should make their claimed inquiry into the origins of the Race for Life public. After all, if the inquiry was genuine, if it looked at all of the available facts, what have they got to hide?
One month later, the silence from Cancer Research UK has been both deafening and telling.
Jim’s letter has received neither acknowledgement nor reply which suggests heavily that CRUK do fear public scrutiny of their so-called inquiry.
Regular visitors to Race 4 Truth will know why. It is because the evidence is overpowering, it leaves no doubt at all that the creator of the Race for Life is Jim Cowan.
And Jim had gone further even than the evidence shared on this site by offering to put CRUK in contact with witnesses who could testify to the actual events of 1993 and 1994 when Jim had the original idea for the Race for Life and went on to launch it.
Cancer Research UK have previously admitted that they have no documents from that period. Jim does but is being ignored. The silence is deafening.
The questions need to be asked; what evidence exactly did CRUK examine in their so-called inquiry? What did they deliberately ignore? And, why the fear of making it public? Of course, we know the answer to that second question.
Now, Race 4 Truth have begun a campaign, using the hashtag #TheSilenceIsDeafening. The idea behind the campaign is simple; we have been, and will continue to, Tweet and use other social media to contact the media, celebrities, charity organisations, and others to ask the questions; Why won’t CRUK reply? What have they got to hide?
And we will continue the campaign into the future by sharing articles and evidence from our articles page with those key players, all using #TheSilenceIsDeafening.
We will continue to do so until CRUK admit to their 25+ year cover up of the origins of the event and formally recognise Jim for his incredible creation, first dreamed up as a tribute to his father who was sadly taken by cancer in 1993.
Why not join us? Using #TheSilenceIsDeafening hashtag use your own social media to ask the questions of the media, journalists, CRUK supporting celebrities, and others: What have Cancer Research UK got to hide? And why won’t they reply to Jim’s open letter?
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.
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.
The hypocrisy of Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s CEO is already a matter of record but, yet again, we find ourselves asking whether that hypocrisy has any limits?
A supporter of Race 4 Truth has been in touch asking us whether we were aware of Michelle Mitchell’s World Mental Health Day (10th October) Tweet (see below) in which she stated; “I want to create a culture at Cancer Research UK where people feel comfortable about their mental health and feel supported.”
A laudable aim but extremely hypocritical given that Mitchell has given not a single thought to Jim Cowan’s mental health following the quarter of a century of lies from her organisation in which they denied he was/is the creator of the Race for Life.
She also gave Jim’s mental health no consideration when the facts made CRUK’s stance unsupportable. Instead, she supported her organisation’s attempts to completely write Jim from the event’s history by denying credit to anyone.
The charity’s stance, which has also included turning a blind eye to the fraud of Jill MacRae, the employee who stole the idea, brings into question its integrity and moral compass, a question which is damning of its recent and current leadership.
But it is the hypocrisy which stands out.
How can anyone claim to care about the very serious issue of mental health when leading on such policies?
Put yourself in Jim’s position; how would you be affected? Every time you see a Race for Life or Cancer Research UK advertisement or report or social media post you are reminded of the theft of your idea, of the lies, of the fraud. Worse, you are reminded that your father, whose cancer diagnosis was the inspiration behind the event’s creation, has been deemed not worthy of remembering by those running CRUK.
Many would struggle. Fortunately, Jim is a very strong, robust person and continues to stand up and stand strong in the face of Mitchell, and her charity’s, ongoing campaign to remove his name from the event’s history. But even someone as strong as he is, still has days when it gets to him.
So, the question must be asked of Mitchell, if you take mental health issues as seriously as your tweet suggests, how do you explain your treatment of Jim Cowan? Or, more likely, is that concern just PR and spin; yet more hypocrisy?
As with the many other questions Mitchell and her organisation need to answer over the Race for Life, we will not hold our breath awaiting an answer. CRUK know that their only defence is no defence!
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
Yesterday (16th September), in a Tweet Cancer Research UK Chief Executive, Michelle Mitchell, mentioned talking about, “the charity’s history, its impact & the big questions that will shape our future.”
We find it surprising that Mitchell, in the full knowledge that parts of the charity’s history are made up, could post such a Tweet with a straight face.
We replied to her Tweet with the direct question, “how accurate is the history you talked about?” We then reminded her; “you have rewritten the history of @raceforlife to exclude the person who created it and then spent 25 years spreading different fictional versions.” We then posed the question, “how can anyone know for sure that you haven’t rewritten other bits?”
Mitchell might, for the uninformed claim that she knows nothing of this rewriting of history, although as CEO she should avail herself of the facts. Of course, she has had that opportunity but declined it. We posted another Tweet reminding her of this; “it is no good claiming, as you have, that you have no documentation from the event’s creation, we have offered to sit down and share documents/evidence with you but you were not interested.” We then asked, “how can you talk about @CR_UK history when you don’t even care that it is accurate?”
To date, predictably, Mitchell has maintained her organisation’s hypocritical and unethical ‘heads in the sand’ approach and offered neither explanation nor reply to our Tweets.
So, to go back to her Tweet, surely one of the big questions that will shape her 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, 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, but she declined that offer too. It appears that historical accuracy, and with it trust, is not high up her list of priorities.
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!
Cancer Research UK’s Director of Fundraising, Ed Aspel, has announced plans to retire at the end of the year. Third Sector interviewed Aspel about leaving the organisation and he revealed his regrets and discussed the changing face of fundraising making comments which highlight both the hypocrisy and the lack of will to tackle ethics and integrity issues at CRUK.
In the interview (which can be read here), 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 fair to assume that, given he is in their employ, CRUK would have, rightly, lauded him and made sure he was recognised for the achievement. And, in doing so, they would again reveal the culture of hypocrisy that riddles the charity.
Twenty six years ago, Jim Cowan came up with just such a game changer, just such a transformational change. Jim’s idea was the Race for Life. Twenty six years later, it is easy to forget just what a game changer the creation of the Race for Life was.
In 1993, charity runners entered running events, such as the London Marathon or Great North Run, and asked for sponsorship but there was no such thing as the numerous ‘charity runs’ we have now in 2019. Whereas now almost every charity has its own fun run of one variety or another, 26 years ago none did. Jim creating the Race for Life in 1993 and launching it in1994 changed all that and, with it, the fundraising landscape in the UK changed for good.
You would think that CRUK would have thanked Jim, that they would heap praise and recognition on him.
This same charity happily acknowledge others for fundraising exploits, events, and other enterprises which support their fundraising. But not Jim.
This same charity happily accept recognition for their own executives, employees, and organisation as a whole, but hypocritically refuse to give Jim similar, or even any, recognition for the amazing event he created.
And what of ethics and integrity?
Later in the interview Aspel goes on to talk about how donations to CRUK are falling. He blamed changing attitudes and evolving consumer behaviour, and he may be correct. But isn’t a contributing factor in changing attitudes towards CRUK that they are trusted less?
People are seeing through the glossy adverts and beginning to ask why they are being lied to? Lies such as the frequent lies by omission about entry fees to their events not supporting any research; such as the misleading statements which suggest merchandise sales support research; or the exclusion of their high street shop, event, and merchandising income from how they calculate the percentage of income funding research.
The charity is an ethics and integrity vacuum which shows no desire to amend its ways and restore faith and trust. Aspel may well be unaware of all of this but as a Director of the organisation, he should not be.
And, given the hypocrisy of CRUK towards recognising Jim Cowan, we can only wonder what Aspel’s stance might be should he be nominated for any form of award or recognition himself for his service to the charity? Recognition still denied to Jim Cowan, a man whose incredible creation played no small part in supporting Aspel’s success as Director of Fundraising.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
The hypocrisy of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and those who run the ‘charity’ are on record but this summer’s Race for Life series has set a new low in hypocrisy, even by the appallingly low standards CRUK set for themselves.
Both the current (Michelle Mitchell) and the former (Harpal Kumar) CEOs of the organisation have demonstrated textbook hypocrisy by happily accepting awards and recognition for their own work while steadfastly refusing to recognise Race for Life creator Jim Cowan for his own contribution.
A number of members of CRUK’s Board of Trustees likewise have accepted awards and recognition for their work but, led by Chairman, Leszek Borysiewicz, they endorse the CEO’s stance on denying any recognition to Jim Cowan.
The position is particularly hypocritical given that although they now take a stance of stating that they don’t credit anyone with the creation of the event, for the 25 years previously they have spun a range of fictional stories about the event’s origins; fiction they have never corrected.
More widely and beyond its executives, they regularly accepts awards and recognition for its work both as an organisation and for individuals in their employ and who volunteer for them. CRUK applauds the contribution of supporters, of participants in events, of event organisers. In recent months they have even run an online campaign for people to nominate their ‘Race for Life Hero’ responding to all nominations, sharing many on social media, while steadfastly ignoring the many nominations for Jim Cowan from members of the public.
CRUK’s hypocrisy is well recorded. It is also shameless.
Now, even by the very low standards they set themselves, they have reached an all time low.
After warning the public of the dangers of eating bacon and other processed meats, warning of the carcinogens such products contain, they have happily taken income from businesses which profit from selling these products. Worse, they have accommodated them and allowed them to sell at Race for Life events.
It is a bit like saying; “hey, we know this product is damaging to your health but so what. They are willing to pay us to be here and we’ll happily take that money so tuck in!”
Now, you might excuse them by suggesting the extra income supports more research into cancer but you’d be wrong. CRUK’s own annual report makes it clear that event income does not fund research. No, it funds the gravy train.
“Bacon is carcinogenic. It causes cancer. Here, have a bacon roll while we pop to the bank!”
Hypocrisy? You tell us!
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
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 so they thought)?
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.