A Scottish charity on the frontline of the battle to find new cures for cancer is asking the public to become ‘Curestarters’ and help fund research by leaving a gift in their Will. By Lorraine Wilson
Most of us, at some point in our lives, wonder how we’ll be remembered. What kind of legacy will we leave for those who come after us? Leaving a better world must come at the top of many lists. That can rarely be done alone, but the joint effort means that our families can look forward to a life that doesn’t include as many of the challenges we face today.
Cancer is something that has affected all our lives, either directly or indirectly. Statistics say that one in two of us will be diagnosed at some point in our lives, and by 2030, cancer is projected to become the leading cause of death worldwide.
Researchers around the world are working towards cures to all kinds of cancers. That takes time and it takes funding.
A Scottish charity called Worldwide Cancer Research is the charity that starts new cancer cures to end cancer, and funds some of the brightest minds in research across the UK and the rest of the world. It receives no government support. It relies on the donations of the public to work towards saving lives, backing the brightest minds in global research in their work.
It needs the help of what it calls the Curestarters – that’s all of us. By the simple act of leaving a gift in your Will, you can be a Curestarter, contributing to that lifesaving research and finding the cures of tomorrow. Worldwide Cancer Research has made that process incredibly simple. It offers a free Will writing and review service. Whether you choose to write your first Will or update an existing document, the service won’t cost you a penny.
The importance of donations and legacy giving is perhaps best expressed by Dr Carsten Hansen, a cancer researcher based in the Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh. He is funded by Worldwide Cancer Research.
Dr Hansen and his team study a cellular signalling pathway termed the Hippo pathway. Dysregulation of the Hippo pathway drives most types of solid tumours, both at the initiation stage of cancer but also processes such as metastasis and chemoresistance. His team’s focus in the Worldwide Cancer Research funded project is on the asbestos induced mesothelioma.
“This is made possible because of the charity’s generous supporters and Curestarters,” he says. “The focus of my research is on a deadly type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, and because of people like you, we can investigate how cells in our body communicate and how this can go wrong in cancer. I wanted to say thank you and let you know just how much we appreciate supporters’ gifts in Wills and donations. Even a gift as little as 1% could be the gift that means no other life is cut short by cancer.”
With over 200 types of cancer, of course the cures haven’t been found yet, but it takes this level of global research to make the discoveries that will go on to save millions of lives. Every breakthrough starts with discovery research – bold ideas that ask big, challenging and new questions about how cancer works. That’s why Worldwide Cancer Research won’t stop until cancer does.
Alan Moss is Worldwide Cancer Research’s Individual Giving and Fundraising Manager and he was surprised at just how simple it was to leave a gift in his Will.
“A lot of people leave it too late to update their Will or don’t get around to it,” he says. “I was keen to have my affairs in order and to remember causes that are close to my heart, so I updated my Will to include charities I care deeply about. There’s a misconception that it’s complicated and that it’s only for older people to do. I used the Free Will writing service, so it was really simple and the solicitor made it easy for me.
“I would encourage anybody to enquire about the Free Will writing service and give it a go. It gives you peace of mind and ensures your wishes will be fulfilled.
“It also makes things easier for the executors of your Will. I’m only 37, but it gives me peace of mind knowing my Will is up to date and that a positive gift will be sent to the charities I care about.”
Cancer doesn’t recognise borders or nationality and neither does Worldwide Cancer Research. Since it was founded in 1979, it has funded over 1907 research projects in over 35 countries. Having this global outlook means it can support researchers wherever they are. A breakthrough – and potentially lifesaving cancer cure started – anywhere on the planet is a step towards ending cancer.
“The research journey is a long one, taking around 20 years for an idea to become a drug that benefits people,” adds Dr Hansen. “Cancer is global, and in reality cancer is diverse and a range of different types of diseases. This means that there are still many unknowns, we need to discover and reveal what makes cancers so different. We all know someone who has had cancer and the pain this inflicts on the patient and their loved ones. This means that being a cancer scientist is a very meaningful job.”
When we write our Wills, we always make sure our loved ones are well looked after. What better legacy can we leave than the path to the end of a disease that causes suffering for so many families around the world.
Start the cancer cures of tomorrow, today.
Find out more about Worldwide Cancer Research’s Free Wills service by requesting our Free Gifts in Wills brochure online at www.worldwidecancerresearch.org/free-gifts-in-wills-guide or by calling 0300 777 7910.