Tag Archives: This Is Beating Cancer

RACE FOR LIFE’S TRIPLE DECEPTION MISLEADING SUPPORTERS

Cancer Research UK and the Race for Life have been keen to tell anyone entering the event that “this is beating cancer.” The home page for the 2019 events proudly boasts; “Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is a series of events raising money for research into all 200 types of cancer.

But what they don’t share is the triple deception of where income generated by the event really goes (or doesn’t go). But then, that might slow the gravy train and spoil the narrative.

Deception number one is when you enter the Race for Life. You think ‘this is beating cancer’ because that is what Cancer Research UK have told you. You might think you are supporting research into cancer, because that is what they have led you to believe. What they don’t tell you, unless pressed, is that not a single penny of that entry fee supports research into cancer. It is all absorbed by sky high event costs. It is a lie by omission. It is a deliberate deception.

Deception number two is when you purchase some Race for Life merchandise. You again think ‘this is beating cancer’ because that is the story Cancer Research UK are telling. You might again think you are supporting research into cancer, because that is what they have led you to believe. And yet, Cancer Research UK’s own Annual Report tells us that no income from merchandising goes to research. Another lie by omission. Another deliberate deception.

Deception number three comes if and when you raise sponsorship for your Race for Life. You think ‘this is beating cancer’ because, again, that is what they tell you. And, again, you might think you are supporting research into cancer, because that is what they have led you to believe. But read that small print carefully; sponsorship does not go to research into cancer, it goes to Cancer Research UK, a subtle but important difference. Why? Because this means salaries, office costs, marketing, PR, and other costs come out of your fundraising before any finds it way to actual research. The choice of words used is deliberate. The deception is deliberate.

How much finds it way to research? It is impossible to say. Entry fees and merchandise sales (along with other income streams) are not even included in the figures they use to calculate the percentage of their income which actually does go to research, artificially increasing the percentage they use (80% but, given the numerous sleights of hand, likely considerably lower).

We have asked on numerous occasions for clarification but, to date, have not received a reply.

So, when Cancer Research UK and the Race for Life tell you, “this is beating cancer” take the statement with a large pinch of salt. When they tell you, “Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is a series of events raising money for research into all 200 types of cancer.” Take another large pinch of salt.

None of the event entry fee, none of the income from merchandising, and only an unclear percentage of sponsorship funds raised go to actual research into cancer. The rest? The gravy train has to be funded from somewhere. But they won’t tell you that.

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

CANCER RESEARCH UK AND THE MISSING VALUES

Pretty much every organisation across every sector that is worth its salt will have a publicly stated set of values. The importance of ‘Values’ is so high that it has become standard practice that, in well run organisations, they are stated in the Mission Statement alongside the Vision and the Mission.

You know the kind of thing; we will act with integrity, we are customer focused, we source our products ethically, and so on.

Given the many issues with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Race for Life that Race 4 Truth has highlighted over the last year, we thought it would be interesting to seek out CRUK’s Values and compare them to reality.

We thought it would be as simple as visiting their website and looking their Values up. It wasn’t. Instead, after a couple of hours searching their site, we were left having to assume that they don’t have any values to share.

But then, they must do. Their website clearly states of its Council of Trustees; “Council’s role is to set the Charity’s strategic direction, monitor the delivery of the Charity’s objects, uphold its values and governance and guide, advise and support the Chief Executive, who leads the Senior Management Team towards achieving the Charity’s vision and purpose.”

So, we searched again. And, buried on page 39 of CRUK’s Annual Report, we found a list of “promises” to the organisation’s supporters. The first of these states; “To be transparent about where your money goes.” That sounded a lot like a Value to us so we searched the website for more information and finally found CRUK’s ‘Fundraising Promise.’

Here, they expand on the line in their Annual Report by stating that they promise “To be transparent about where your money goes.” They go on to say: “For every £1 donated, over 80p is used to beat cancer.”

Except, it isn’t. Their ‘transparency’ doesn’t stretch to telling their supporters that, according to CRUK’s own annual report, nothing from the following goes to funding research, and nothing from the following list is included when calculating that 80p:
-Income from event entries and tickets (eg Race for Life)
-Income from event merchandising
-Income from commercial sponsorship of events
-Income from high street ‘charity’ shops

Transparent? More like a broken promise.

The ‘Fundraising Promise’ goes on to state; “We are proud to champion the principles of honesty, accountability and transparency when fundraising.” Perhaps they should add; “as long as we don’t have to tell you that by entering the Race for Life you have given not a single penny to research.” Indeed, when advertising entries for the Race for Life they even use the (misleading) tag line ‘this is beating cancer.’ 

Honesty? They have lied about the origins of the Race for Life for 25 years and, once provided with evidence, refused to put the lies right by telling truth. They even supported a fraudulent claim by then employee Jill MacRae that she had created the event. They now know she didn’t but have failed to right that wrong.

Accountability? To whom exactly. Handily, they don’t say.

Transparency? Well, when directly asked how much of the sponsorship money raised by Race for Life participants funds research they were (again) very careful with their wording (ie not transparent). “100% of it goes to Cancer Research UK.”

Note, to “Cancer Research UK”, not to cancer research. Far from funding research, a chunk of that money funds sky high salaries, expensive offices, glossy TV commercials, and more.

Transparent?

And their CEO Michelle Mitchell cannot claim to be unaware of the importance of clear values. Under her leadership in her previous role as CEO at the Multiple Sclerosis Society, a clear set of values was put in place. But then, Mitchell is already rewriting the book in her new role, especially when it comes to hypocrisy. And what of the CRUK Council of Trustees responsible for “upholding its values?” Are none of them asking questions?

We were searching for Values, a set of standards to which Cancer Research UK hold themselves responsible. In their place we found empty promises already broken.

They have lied about the Race for Life for 25 years, they deliberately mislead their supporters while claiming transparency, they claim accountability without saying to whom. Why should we believe a single word they say? Cancer Research UK, an integrity free zone, would like you to trust them with your hard earned money. Just don’t ask them where it goes.

If it matters to you, why not ask Michelle Mitchell directly. Her Twitter handle is @Michelle_CRUK – we are sure she would love to hear from you and to explain CRUK’s values and (broken) promises.

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