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Appeal: Gifts in wills are vital in our fight against cancer

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 October 2020

Dr Nicholls is researching childhood leukemia - one of the cruel cancers your generosity could help combat

Dr Nicholls is researching childhood leukemia - one of the cruel cancers your generosity could help combat

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Cancer Research UK says crucial research to defeat this deadly disease is funded by money left in donors’ wills.

Dr Ashley Nicholls is one of the Cancer Research UK scientists battling the disease   Pictures: CRUK/Laura AshmanDr Ashley Nicholls is one of the Cancer Research UK scientists battling the disease Pictures: CRUK/Laura Ashman

Each year in the East of England, around 35,500* people are diagnosed with cancer – but sadly only one in two will survive the disease for 10 years or more. That’s why research into better cancer diagnosis and treatments is vital.

Research projects across the UK benefit from the generosity of people leaving a gift to Cancer Research UK in their will. Dr Ashley Nicholls is a researcher at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, researching drug development for childhood leukaemia.

“Our focus is to find vulnerabilities in leukaemia cells that are not found in normal healthy cells,” he explains. “Hopefully, this will enable us to find drugs that target and destroy cancer cells specifically, but not normal healthy cells.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all areas of cancer. The impact on labs, clinical trials and cancer services has been devastating. The temporary closure of our shops and postponement of events is having huge implications on our funding.

“Cancer Research UK’s funding is vital to our team. It enables us to use state of the art technology to answer the most difficult biological questions. It also provides funding to bring together teams of experts to solve cancer’s most difficult problems to benefit patients all over the world. Without that funding we wouldn’t be able to carry out our life-saving research.”

Dr Nicholls became aware of the importance of gifts in wills when one of his family members left money to the charity in her will. “Professionally, gifts in wills give me the opportunity to explore things that are relevant to the future of cancer patients, for the improvement of treatments and discovery of more effective cancer drugs,” he says.

“Personally, it makes me feel proud that people are interested in the work we do, and it makes us all part of one team, pushing forward to help beat cancer sooner.”

Gifts in wills fund more than a third of Cancer Research UK’s life-saving research. Together we will beat cancer.

To find out more and get your free gifts in wills guide, click here.

*Based on the average annual number of new cases of all cancers combined excluding non-melanoma skin cancer (ICD10 C00-C97 excl.C44) diagnosed in the East of England between 2015 and 2017


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