Why do you support Cancer Research UK?
We started to support cancer research before either of our families were touched directly by cancer, but we saw many friends sadly die prematurely or lose loved ones. We were inspired by the fact that many of the drug therapies that were being used had been developed by Cancer Research UK, and we wanted to be part of that effort. Since then, we have sadly lost family members to cancer and realise first-hand how vital that research is.
Which areas of our research interest you the most and where would you like more progress being made?
We are particularly interested in some of the most difficult to treat cancers, like brain tumours, and the modern treatments that are being developed to target them. We know that in the future we will live with cancer, rather than eliminate it, so we also find it inspiring to learn about the treatments that can transform life-threatening cancer into a manageable condition.
What does philanthropy mean to you?
Philanthropy is really important to us. It is part of our cultural and religious upbringings. We met doing voluntary work in Manchester while we were both students and had little income. We have been fortunate to have had financial resources since then, but less time to help charities. We have, however, had time and money in recent years to support charities, which is something we do often. We have also been passionate about instilling this culture of giving back into our children, too.
You have a close connection to the Francis Crick Institute – what inspires you about the research there?
By chance, our home overlooks the incredible Crick building. When we learnt that many of science’s key breakthroughs in cancer treatment were happening across the road from us, we wanted to see how we could support it. We were particularly attracted to the collaborative approach of its six founding partners, including many London universities and the Wellcome Trust. It is a unique partnership, which, combined with some of the new technologies emerging from the understanding of DNA, is potentially going to change the game for cancer treatment.
How important do you think it is for people to use their connections to champion good causes?
We believe that people should try to help charity, either with their own financial resources, their time or their connections with others. While we find asking others for money somewhat more difficult than giving ourselves, we do it for causes that we feel passionate about and support ourselves. We also find that this creates reciprocal responsibilities, as we find it very difficult to turn down a request for charity from somebody who has helped us!
Written by Charlotte Mathé, Philanthropy Communications Specialist at Cancer Research UK.