As a politics student, I try to find a political connection in everything, so while at Cancer Research UK’s ‘Beat Cancer Sooner’ Parliament Day I questioned the link between government and charity. Over 100 CRUK Ambassadors attended the Parliament Day at Westminster on 2 July, where they met with MPs, including the likes of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, to discuss potential improvements that could be made to cancer treatments in the UK.
Following a brand reboot a few years back, Cancer Research UK’s main aim is to accelerate and increase 10 year cancer survival from two in four to three in four within the next 20 years. To meet this aim, the charity is focusing on the prioritisation of early diagnosis of cancer, the development of new treatments and the improvement of those existing. With the government’s assistance, these aims can be met much faster by committing to reducing the number of adults that smoke from 20 percent to less than 15 percent, by offering more support to those trying to quit and ensuring all cancer patients have access to the best treatments available.
CRUK also seeks the involvement of the European Parliament, although UKip’s victory in the recent European Parliamentary elections has cast doubt over the importance of the UK’s involvement in the EU. Decisions made in the EU Parliament impact everyday life; from housing laws to health regulations, including the types of cancer that is researched and treated, which is why Cancer Research UK wants to ensure that new MEPs back the needs of the medical research community.
The day gave ambassadors the opportunity to demonstrate the local and national impact of CRUK’s work. This was also the setting for the charity’s annual Flame of Hope Awards, which five ambassadors received for their involvement in the charity; from meeting with their local MPs to raising copious amounts of money for the charity. The recognition of the effort and commitment of these dedicated ambassadors has highlighted to me that anyone can make a difference.
After attending this day, I saw for myself the importance of the connection between charity and government; from enforcing smoking bans to ensuring access to medical treatment, the government’s involvement in the matter is crucial in the development of this life-saving research and politicians’ support of charities helps promote the issues further.