My six-year-old daughter Em recently announced to me that she wanted to ‘be just like me’ when she grew up and find cures for cancer.
‘I’m not a scientist, darling, I tell people about the scientists and ask people to support us.’
With no hesitation she replied, ‘Yes but that’s helping find cures too’. This warms my heart twofold; she understands the importance of the work we do at Cancer Research UK and she sees us as united in our aim to beat cancer sooner. Having a wee pal that’s survived a childhood cancer, she appreciates the fantastic progress we have made in recent decades.
I’m the Cancer Research UK legacy manager in Scotland. I support supporters who might wish to consider or have decided to leave a gift in their will to Cancer Research UK.
This is an extraordinary way to support our work, and any gift in a will, or legacy, is a long-term investment in those discoveries and progress. It’s a very special and personal decision to make.
I’m on a bit of a mission to make sure that people know how important it is to have an up-to-date will. We as a society find this conversation particularly uncomfortable. Only around one in three of us here in Scotland make a will.
I witness first-hand how difficult it can be for both an individual and a family when circumstances change and that conversation hasn’t happened. Believe me, having the conversation with loved ones when everyone is able to have a say is definitely going to give all involved peace of mind in the future.
Some supporters say ‘I would love to leave you a gift but I haven’t got anything to leave’, but you’d be surprised. One man using our Free Will Service was living a simple life by his craft.
I asked what he did for a living and he said ‘I’m an artist…..I couldn’t leave you my work, could I?’ He is now leaving us two beautiful paintings.
We have received some weird and wonderful gifts; Cliff Richard memorabilia, even a stuffed parrot! Every single gift, big or small, makes a difference.
More than a third of all of our research is funded by legacy gifts, so the amazing progress we see simply wouldn’t exist without this support.
We assist people in sorting their affairs through our Free Will Service.
This runs throughout the year, and can be used for a simple will, codicil or amendment to an existing will, or a simple mirror will set provided you’re over 55. Our participating solicitor members in Scotland make the service so easy to use.
I organise events which are a great way of learning more, with ones coming up this year in Aberdeen, Dundee and the Scottish Borders. I love them, as I get to meet supporters and thank them for their support, and introduce them to our amazing scientists and nurses who bring them up to speed with regional research, development in technology and results from clinical trials.
Working alongside these amazing colleagues is truly inspiring, especially when you introduce the supporters to them and hear about the research they are doing right now.
On those days I really see what my daughter means; everyone in the room is excited at the progress we’re making, and are united to beat cancer sooner. Perhaps I’ll see you at the next one?
For more details on legacies and regional events email [email protected] or call 01573 440754.