The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration (or SOFII for short) make the claim, “We are here to help you be the best fundraiser you can be, by sharing the innovation and inspiration that drives and invigorates our sector.”
It’s a laudable aim. Unfortunately, they do not let the truth get in the way of a good story.
In August 2023 Jim Cowan, the man who actually created the Race for Life, was made aware of an article on the SOFII website which featured Paul de Gregorio (the founder of Rally) giving a talk at SOFII’s ‘I Wish I’d Thought of That’ conference.
The idea de Gregorio wished he had thought of was the Race for Life. However, the background and history of the event he then presented was completely wrong. Given Cancer Research UK’s lies and various different tales they have told about the Race for Life’s history, not knowing the truth was not de Gregorio’s fault. How was he to know that he was simply relaying one version of the numerous fictions CRUK have shared over the years? And we should make clear, de Gregorio is not the one in the wrong here. Like many others, he simply believed a lie also believed by many others, one which CRUK’s leadership know not to be true but refuse to correct.
The version de Gregorio (and SOFII) shared was the one where the Race for Life was a copy of an American event brought to the UK by Imperial Cancer Research UK (CRUK’s previous name) employee Lisa Holland. Along with Jill MacRae and Jane Arnell, Holland is one of a trio of former ICRF employees whose names keep cropping up from that time when the original theft of the idea took place, claiming to have either created it or to have been the inspiration behind it. None have chosen to correct the record, instead happy to accept credit undeserved.
Having been made aware of what he thought was an honest error on SOFII’s part, Jim contacted them on 7th August 2023, making the reasonable request that the page be corrected. On 10th August he also posted a comment on the article expressing his disappointment and providing links to both the Wikipedia page on the event and to our own Race 4 Truth website.
On 14th August SOFII’s Tony Banks promised to look into the matter. Having not heard further, on 31st August Jim emailed a copy of Runner’s World’s ‘top 30 game changers’ article in which he was rightly credited with the Race for Life’s creation.
By 14th September Jim had yet to receive the courtesy of a reply so he followed up seeking both a response and querying why his comment on the article on SOFII’s website had been blocked from display? This email invoked a reply from Banks in which he repeated the usual lines CRUK cite when denying Jim’s involvement, as per usual without offering any evidence to counter Jim’s claim.
On 18th September Jim replied, this time providing the full and true background and history of the Race for Life including links to evidence supporting his claim, evidence CRUK has never been able to counter. Jim again requested that the page be amended to reflect the facts, the truth.
By 3rd October Jim had not received a reply so again he emailed Banks only to receive an auto-reply that Banks had now left SOFII and giving Carolina Herrera as the person to contact in his place. Jim therefore emailed Herrera in order to chase the matter up and to seek a response.
On 18th October Jim was still awaiting the courtesy of a reply and so emailed Herrera again, also copying in her SOFII colleague Joanna Culling.
No reply was received and the incorrect story and video remain on SOFII’s website.
Jim has not chased SOFII again. Having given them more than ample time and opportunity to respond he has now shared the information with Race 4 Truth.
It has become abundantly clear that SOFII have no interest in reporting facts and no interest in the truth or the accuracy of articles shared on their pages. Indeed, by leaving de Gregorio’s misinformed talk (along with supporting but incorrect details of the Race for Life) SOFII are effectively endorsing the stealing of ideas on their website.
How much credibility does this give to this ‘showcase’ of fundraising and ‘innovation’? What does it say of SOFII’s raison d’être, “we are here to help you be the best fundraiser you can be, by sharing the innovation and inspiration that drives and invigorates our sector” when they know that at least some of what they share is fiction?
How much credibility does this mean SOFII have? They are not interested in facts, in truth. They block comments on their site which seek to correct falsehoods, they don’t reply to emails raising legitimate questions, and they ignore evidence instead believing unsubstantiated CRUK lies.
The concept behind SOFII is a good one, it should be a driver for the sharing of best practice and for genuine innovation. Unfortunately, by sharing one of CRUK’s numerous fake versions of the Race for Life story the motivation behind the organisation and even the truth in their other content must be questioned where no supporting evidence is also presented. Especially when they have been presented with the truth along with supporting evidence of that truth by the man who actually did create the Race for Life, Jim Cowan.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK is lagging behind.