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Cancer charities unite to raise funds with new 20 for 20 challenge

Melanie May | 17 September 2020 | News

Twenty charities representing rare and less common cancers are collaborating in a new fundraising campaign, 20 for 20.
Organised by Sarcoma UK and including Cancer52, Lymphoma Research Trust, MDS UK Patient Support Group, and Mesothelioma UK among the 20, the event is a response to the impact of Covid-19 and is inspired by this year’s 2.6 Challenge.
Starting on 20 September 2020, the charities are asking supporters to sign up to the 20 for 20 challenge, choose either one charity to support or the collective, and raise sponsorship money by taking on 20 challenges over 20 consecutive days. Participants can choose any challenge or activity they like based on the number 20, from running for 20 minutes to baking 20 cakes.
Together the 20 for 20 charities fund around £6 million of cancer research every year but have seen income substantially drop since the start of lockdown.
In a recent survey, Cancer52, which represents nearly 100 rare and less common patient support groups and charities in the UK, found that the majority had seen a rise in the use of their support services during the pandemic. Almost 30% of those surveyed reported that their support line usage had increased by 50% or more during the first three months of the pandemic.
At the same time, the pandemic has had a major impact on the amount of voluntary income received by these charities, and the majority for the 20 for 20 charities (almost 70%) haven’t received any form of government funding.
Jane Lyons, Chief Executive of Cancer52, said:

“Having a rare or less common cancer already presents a huge range of challenges, from getting diagnosed early to making sure patients get the right treatment. For countless patients and their families, the charities taking part in 20 for 20 are a lifeline of support, information, campaigning and are funders of research specifically looking into these cancers.
‘We risk losing this in the long-term if these charities have to further cut what they can do, or worse still, shut. 20 for 20 is a powerful statement about a unique collaboration to bring in some much-needed income that has been lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a strong collective voice, we believe we can achieve more together than apart.”

Richard Davidson, Chief Executive of Sarcoma UK, added:


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“There is a time bomb for cancer on the horizon and we need to make sure these charities, many of whom are the sole voice for cancer patients whose cancers rarely get the spotlight they need, are there for patients, carers and the NHS when that happens. Arguably, these cancer charities are needed now more than ever. 20 for 20 is a bold attempt to take control of the situation, not as competitors but as partners to make sure we can continue to be there for patients now and crucially, in the future.’

In full, the 20 charities taking part in 20 for 20 are: ALK Positive UK, AMMF, Boom Foundation, Brain Tumour Research, Cancer 52, Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group, DKMS, GIST Cancer UK, Heartburn Cancer UK, It’s in the Bag, Lymphoma Action, Lymphoma Research Trust, MDS UK Patient Support Group, Mesothelioma UK, Myeloma UK, Pancreatic Cancer Action, Sarcoma UK, Solving Kids Cancer, Target Ovarian Cancer, WMUK. Collectively, these charities have a combined supporter reach of more than 6 million people across the UK.
The campaign is supported by biopharmaceutical company Takeda as its headline sponsor and campaign partner Novartis.