Inspiration in Uncertain Times – supporting living, giving and learning

These are very strange times. Back in February, when we announced we would have to postpone the 24 Hour Inspire due to industrial action, we could not have imagined that a few weeks later, all University teaching would be ‘virtual’, buildings closed, public gatherings banned, and all of us required to stay at home.

All charities, no matter how large and well known, are struggling in this environment. When people’s income suddenly becomes more precarious, and when the kind of events that charities rely upon to raise funds are not possible, their incomes are bound to be hit hard.

Inspiration for Life is no exception. We don’t yet know when it will be possible to hold the 24 Hour Inspire, or whether our other fundraising events will take place either. That means we can’t at present make donations to our partner charitiesTeenage Cancer Trust, the intended beneficiaries of the 24 Hour Inspire, Weston Park Cancer Charity, who we planned to fund through the Endcliffe Park 10k, Rotherham Hospice and Impact Living. And whilst our contributions are very modest, in the scheme of things, all of those charities are experiencing a serious drop in funds for research and essential services.

But whilst we are all, rightly, preoccupied with Covid-19, we know that cancer hasn’t gone away. People are still being diagnosed, still facing the huge challenges that such a diagnosis brings. Cancer patients are particularly vulnerable to the virus, particularly if they’re undergoing chemo. Some will face delays to treatment because of the extraordinary pressures on hospitals. Whatever problems cancer patients and their families face will be made more difficult to solve in the midst of this crisis.

That’s why we’re launching a fundraising drive, and asking our supporters to make donations, however small, to keep us going during this difficult period. You can donate via the button on our Donate page, or on our new fundraising page, here.

There’s another way you can help us. Now that you can’t go out shopping (other than for groceries and medicine), you’re probably doing more of your shopping online. You can support us with each online purchase you make, by signing up to Give as you Live. You can also keep raising free donations for us when you download or stream home entertainment for the family.

As always, our priority is to donate what we receive from our supporters to our partner charities. But we also need to be able to cover some minimal costs in terms of running our fundraising events, particularly the 24 Hour Inspire. And whenever the next 24 Hour Inspire takes place, we want it to be massive. A massive celebration that we’ve come through this time of trial and tragedy, a celebration of the community of the University and the contribution of all of its members, a celebration of the work of the charities that provide such vital support for cancer sufferers.

The coronavirus crisis is teaching us a lot of things. Not just how to manage on-line meetings and keep our kids occupied under lockdown – even more important things. That we’re all connected, that we need each other. That we do, after all, need experts. That migrants from Europe and elsewhere are not stealing our jobs but saving our lives. That the most vital people in our communities are the cleaners, supermarket workers, care home staff, nurses, doctors, police officers, postal workers…

We will get through this, but we won’t be the same. Inspiration for Life’s priorities will still stand though, I am certain. To promote lifelong learning and public understanding of science, to support those affected by cancer.

To support living, giving and learning.

Thank you, as always, for your support. Stay at home, stay safe, stay well, and see you on the other side. And to those on the front line, from all of us, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Catherine Annabel, Chair, Inspiration for Life


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