Out of all the charities which the British public so generously supports, I think most would agree that cancer comes very near the top of concerns close to our hearts. Because there can be scarcely one of us who does not have a story to tell about friends or family affected by this illness.
So it was my very great privilege to be asked to attend Cancer Research UK’s shop at 14 East Street, Horsham, on Friday and help kick off their brilliant new campaign.
The number of people with cancer in the UK is set to rise steeply by 2030, with nearly five cases currently being diagnosed every hour in the South East.
No one wants to cause unnecessary alarm, but this is surely the kind of statistic that gets us rolling up our sleeves to see what we can do and volunteer our time and energy to make a difference. That’s why I joined forces with Cancer Research UK to help accelerate the progress the charity is making and highlight the power of research in beating the disease.
What could you do? Here’s what I said to start the ball rolling: “Research is cancer’s number one enemy and it is people like the dedicated volunteers I’ve met at this shop, who are enabling the charity’s doctors and scientists to keep making huge advances in the battle against the disease.
“While more of us will be diagnosed with cancer in future, there is good news. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK’s work is helping to ensure more men, women and children survive the disease. So I’m calling on the local community to help Cancer Research UK to beat cancer sooner.
“I would encourage people to support the charity in any way they can, whether it’s donating or buying from the shop, volunteering for a few hours a week, or signing up for a sporting challenge.”
Even more persuasively, let me quote Cancer Research UK’s Horsham shop manager, Victoria Godfrey: “Every step we make towards beating cancer relies on every pound, every hour and every person, so we hope people in Horsham will really get behind this campaign.
“In particular, we’re looking for new volunteers in the shop and of course we’re always looking for people to donate more unwanted items.
“There’s still so much more we need to do to ensure no-one’s life is cut short by cancer. So it’s great to have the support of Francis Maude MP with raising awareness. But by boosting support and funding now, the best research teams will be able to develop better ways to prevent, control and cure the disease and help save many more lives.”
So it’s really up to all of us. Do visit www.cancerresearchuk.org to find out more about supporting the charity, or just call on 0300 123 1861. And of course you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook.