Tag Archives: Dishonesty


It is reasonable for the public to expect honesty, transparency, integrity and accountability from charities. Unfortunately, in the case of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) you get none of them.

That CRUK happily turned a blind eye to the fraud of their then employee Jill MacRae has been a matter of record for some time.

MacRae infamously claimed to be the creator of the Race for Life after stealing the event from its real inventor, Jim Cowan. So brazen was she that she even threatened Cowan with legal action if he did not desist from his own, honest, claim. But he stood firm and MacRae, now with Barnardo’s, backed down and removed all such claims from her social media.

However, by including this false claim on her CV, she committed an act of fraud, an act supported by CRUK who happily provided references to that effect. Indeed, historically CRUK recognised MacRae as the event’s creator, a falsehood they have never corrected.

It is over a quarter of a century since Jim Cowan came up with the idea for the Race for Life in 1993 and organised the very first event in 1994. This is evidenced by records from that time, a matter of historical record. However, since 1995 CRUK have consistently lied about the origins of the event, denying due recognition to Cowan.

Initially they supported MacRae’s dishonesty and fraud, then they cited a series of other origins for the event before, eventually, rather than show integrity and admit they had been wrong, they adopted a line of ‘no one person was responsible for creating the event.’ This, despite all evidence clearly showing Cowan did create the event. And, in not correcting the lies, in continuing to deny Cowan any recognition, they display a lack of honesty, a lack of accountability, and a complete absence of integrity.

CRUK’s dishonesty is further evidenced by the numerous deliberately misleading claims they make to draw people into their events. Take for example the claim, ‘this is beating cancer’ used to promote the Race for Life. The reality is that not a single penny from the event entry fees went to research and not a single penny from merchandising went to funding research. Clearly not ‘beating cancer’ but more likely funding the corporate excess CRUK enjoy.

In fairness to CRUK, those entering the Race for Life who decided to also raise sponsorship might well have contributed to ‘beating cancer’ but that is not what the advertising claimed. And, when challenged, CRUK would not clarify what percentage of funds raised through sponsorship went to actual research, went to actually ‘beating cancer.’

It is a very murky picture. It is a picture of deliberately misleading claims, of outright dishonesty, of an absence of integrity, and a complete lack of transparency and accountability. It is certainly not what the public should expect from a charity.

And this is what we know about. How much dishonesty remains uncovered?

For where there is one lie, there are usually more. And when an organisation lies with so much ease and such frequency it is usually because dishonesty is so deeply embedded within its culture.


Further reading:


Jill MacRae, the former Cancer Research UK employee who lied about having created the Race for Life, has a new job and here at Race 4 Truth we are concerned about it.


MacRae’s new job involves working with young people on ‘mindfulness’ and the question has to be asked whether it is appropriate for a proven liar, someone who fraudulently made claims on her CV, to be working with young people?

MacRae is not someone who made a mistake in her past, has recanted, apologised, and is rehabilitated. No. MacRae is someone who knowingly stole and lied, built a career on the back of that lie, and who has never recanted, has never apologised, has never put right her wrong.

You could be forgiven for thinking she does not regret her past misdemeanours, that she sees little or nothing wrong with what she did. 

And that begs the question; should such a person be working with young people on ‘mindfulness’?

MacRae is working as a yoga instructor at the charity, Cultivating Mindfulness. The charity works free of charge with young people between the ages of 12 and 23. 

The Cultivating Mindfulness website states that they aim to “make wellbeing programmes that nourish the whole person.”

Their vision (sic) states; “We are devoted to helping our communities to work together to help each other thrive and flourish. Our mindfulness, meditation and wellbeing programmes and activities aim to support people to learn new ways of being to live happier, healthier and more meaningful lives. Our goals include creating more mindful and compassionate communities and to celebrate the spirit of giving to inspire others to be kinder.”

Does MacRae’s history of unrepentant dishonesty and the effect that had on the Race for Life’s actual creator, Jim Cowan, sound like ‘celebrating the spirit of giving to inspire others to be kinder’ to you?

No. Not to us either.

And MacRae’s profile on the website states; “Jill explores how nature and the changing seasons can influence not only how we practice yoga but how we live our lives, inspiring us to live each moment more mindfully.”

Let us repeat that last bit; “…inspiring us to live each moment more mindfully.”

How exactly? By stealing the ideas from others, by cheating people of their due recognition, by building careers built on lies? And by being totally unrepentant about the whole thing?

Perhaps MacRae could start inspiring young people to live each moment more mindfully by demonstrating some of what she preaches. She could admit her lies, apologise and ensure that she supports our campaign to get Jim Cowan the recognition he truly deserves for his incredible creation.

Until she does, maybe it would be unwise to have her involved in any sort of work where young people might consider her a role model, a teacher of values.

Until then, in the Race 4 Truth, Jill MacRae will always be 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.

4th February 2019: Mitchell tweeted about ‘volunteering’ at a Cancer Research UK event. No sign of any realisation that calling it volunteering when she is paid £240,000 p.a. to work for the organisation smacks of just a little hypocrisy.

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.

19th May 2019: We took a look at examples which demonstrate how deeply embedded hypocrisy is in the culture at Cancer Research UK, including examples of hypocrisy from those at the very top.

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. 

For 26 years this unethical, immoral, hypocritical organisation (and its leadership) have waged a campaign of lies about the origins of the Race for Life, inconsistent lies at that. They have attempted to erase the event’s creator from its history. They have covered up the fraud of Jill MacRae, the employee who originally stole the idea from Jim Cowan.

For the record, that Jim created the Race for Life can be evidenced and witnesses are willing to come forward. That Jill MacRae stole the event can also be evidenced. Sadly, the truth, the facts, do not fit the story Mitchell and Cancer Research UK want to tell the world. They have been offered the opportunity to view evidence, to see correspondence from 1993 and 1994 which prove the event’s origins. They have ignored these offers while acknowledging they have no records of their own

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.


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.


On 31st May last year we called out the Race for Life after they tweeted deliberately misleading information.

They tweeted, as they continue to do so almost daily, that simply entering the Race for Life supports research into cancer. We challenged them on this knowing that not a single penny of the entry fees supports research, something they don’t even admit in the small print on the event website.

It is deliberately misleading at best, an outright lie at worst. And, given they have at least 25 years of form for lying, we know which we believe it is.

Following our challenge, via Twitter, they replied acknowledging that the entry fee does not support cancer but covers the cost of staging the event. 

They went on to state; “This enables all the sponsorship money, raised by our amazing supporters, to go directly to Cancer Research UK’s ground-breaking and life saving research.”

But does it? We challenged them to confirm that ALL of the sponsorship raised goes directly to research (as their tweet claimed). Going to Cancer Research UK does not mean funding research. It can mean funding the CEO’s £1/4 million per annum salary, or the 219+ employees earning over £60,000p.a., or the expensive central London and regional offices, or the glossy TV ads, or, or, or….. it all comes out of funds raised by an unsuspecting and (deliberately) misled public.

Their reply? There hasn’t been one. One year later and despite several prompts from us, Cancer Research UK have failed to confirm or comment on something we know not to be true.

And, as with all messages from this integrity lacking charity, read that tweet carefully. It refers to sponsorship raised by followers, very deliberately excluding corporate sponsorship. No, we can’t trace where that ends up either.

Rather than admit a second time to misleading the public, the Race for Life has opted for silence, for ducking the issue. For not admitting to a lie.

The absence of any confirmation does not surprise us though. Cancer Research UK have form for not saying things, phrasing things cleverly, and using false stories, in order to create a misleading impression of their events and where money raised through those events goes.

It is a fact that they have spent a quarter of a century spinning a range of different yarns as to who  actually created the Race for Life and, in doing so, denying any recognition to the person who actually did.

Having been called out on these tales, rather than accept they got it wrong, they now take an official line of “not recognising anyone.” And why tell the truth when simply missing it out, covers up the lies and fits your agenda better?

For example, why tell people that none of their Race for Life entry fee funds research into cancer? Far better not to mention it at all and leave people with the impression it does through statements such as, “this is beating cancer.” How the entry fee “is beating cancer’ is anyone’s guess when none of it goes to any research. But let’s not tell anyone.

And then, rather than the (deliberate?) omissions, look out also for the cleverly phrased statements, such as the one we sought clarification on. Contradicting the tweet we quote above, the Race for Life website states that sponsorship raised goes to Cancer Research UK (not to research) raising questions as to what percentage actually finds its way to funding any research? 

But don’t ask, they won’t reply. They never admit to their lies, even when caught out. Indeed, on the entry fee lie, they continue to spin it out on a regular basis. Cancer Research UK ; less an integrity gap, more an integrity free zone.

What percentage of the sponsorship, raised and donated in good faith, actually funds research? 

In the absence of any reply, and in the face of the same deliberate lies/misleading statements still being repeated, study Cancer Research UK’s form and draw your own conclusions.

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


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. None. None at all.

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.




Following our letter to Cancer Research UK’s new CEO, Michelle Mitchell, initially we received a reply (dated 18th January) from her Executive Assistant Theresa Lawler which stated:

“As I am sure you are aware, Michelle is our newly appointed Chief Executive, and as such our office has been receiving a large amount of correspondence of late so it is taking slightly longer to reply to each individual letter.

We will respond to your letter once Michelle has had the opportunity to review background information.”

Mitchell’s reply (dated 30th January), for what it was worth, said little but told us a lot.

Firstly there was the repetition of the line which has become Cancer Research UK’s standard response when asked about recognising Jim Cowan as the creator of the Race for Life; “we do not credit anyone with originating any of our events.”

It would appear that the new CEO is to continue the hypocrisy of the old CEO. She is someone who happily accepted an OBE in recognition of her own work and achievements but refuses to recognise Jim Cowan’s work and achievement in creating such a significant event.

And, after a quarter of a century of lies about the event’s origins, it appears neither the charity nor its new CEO have the integrity required to put the record straight.

Mitchell goes on to duck all of the points raised in our letter by stating; “As your letter directly concerns Mr Cowan, you will understand that I am unable to enter into any communication regarding a third party and as such, I am unable to comment further on the specific issues you have raised.”

So, despite her assistant informing us that prior to replying Mitchell would be reviewing the background information, she has found none of that information worthy of comment.

The lies and possible fraud of CRUK staff? Not worthy of comment. Not worthy of investigation. No further details sought. We have to question the integrity of any organisation, let alone a charity, seemingly so willing to brush this kind of thing under the carpet.

We shared Mitchell’s response with Jim Cowan. He wasn’t surprised. Hypocrisy, dishonesty and poor integrity seem embedded in the culture of CRUK, why should he be surprised? But, given she won’t discuss the issues raised with us because they relate to him, he did decide to write a letter of his own to Mitchell. 

More of which in our next article.