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Let's beat cancer sooner

This month we’re celebrating a year of achievements with the launch of our Annual Review. In it, we look back over the past year’s breakthroughs and advances, to thank you – our supporters – for making it all happen.

You are the engine that drives our work to beat cancer. And you’ve come together in your thousands to help us raise money to fund cutting edge cancer research, as well as supporting our campaigns to protect children from cigarette marketing, and to keep cancer at the top of the political agenda.

Watch our video above (or on Youtube here) to see what you’ve helped us achieve… or read on for more info.

  • 40,000 volunteers

Over 40,000 volunteers gave seven million hours of their time to raise money for our life-saving work. From cake sales to fancy-dress at work, people gave their time and money to help beat cancer sooner.

  • 53,000 Dryathletes

53,000 Dryathletes raised more than £5 million by giving up alcohol for the month of January.

  • 4 million bags donated

This year, you donated more than 4 million bags of goods to our shops. Clearing out your wardrobes and de-cluttering your cupboards means we can turn the things you no longer want into life-saving research.

  • 600,000 walkers, runners, swimmers…

An incredible 600,000 of you walked, ran, swam and cycled at fundraising events like Race for Life, Pretty Muddy and of course the Virgin Money London Marathon, where 2,500 runners (including many of the charity’s staff) raised nearly £4 million towards the construction of the Francis Crick Institute.

  • 6,000 legacies

More than 6,000 people left us a gift in their will – these generous donations will help us fund the research of the future.

Helping us beat cancer sooner

Thanks to your support, we’ve achieved some amazing things in the past year. 2014 saw progress in some key areas: understanding how pancreatic cancer spreads, proving the effectiveness of a test that helps spot people at high risk of oesophageal cancer, and a big investment into cutting-edge radiotherapy trials. You can read more about all of this in our Annual Review, and in our blog post covering the highlights of 2014.

And 2015 is already shaping up to be another exciting year for us…

We’re the largest funder of children’s cancer research in the UK, but we want to do more. So in January we launched Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, a new campaign aiming to double the amount we spend in this area over the next five to ten years. We’re working with childhood cancer experts to identify new research projects to help reach the day when every child diagnosed with cancer goes on to live a long and healthy life.

February brought new figures showing that half of us can expect to hear the words ‘you have cancer’ at some point in our lives. It’s a stark statistic, but while more people are being diagnosed, survival is at an all-time high – one in two people will survive their cancer for ten years or more. And we’re not stopping there – our ambition is to increase survival to three in four by 2034.

So in March we launched our Grand Challenge – £20 million towards research to identify and tackle the biggest challenges in cancer research. We’ve already brought together some of the top cancer researchers in the world to help us with this ambitious project – watch this space.

And we were absolutely delighted at the news later in March that plain, standardised cigarette packaging is set to become law across the UK from May 2016. We led the campaign for this measure over the last three years, and more than 90,000 of you supported us. And thanks to you, we’ve achieved an historic breakthrough that will reduce the number of young people lured into a deadly addiction.

On 1st April, another piece of history was made when the scientists at our London Research Institute officially became part of the Francis Crick Institute. It’s a new era for Cancer Research UK – the Crick will open in 2016 and will transform healthcare for future generations.

May saw the UK’s General Election – and we were busy in the run-up to the vote with our campaign Cross Cancer Out – meeting hundreds of MPs to make sure cancer was right at the top of the political agenda. Nearly 11,000 of you shared your stories with election candidates to show how cancer affects every family in the UK.

Later in May we saw exciting results from our STAMPEDE trial, showing that combining chemotherapy with hormone treatment can extend the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer. – results that should change the way these men are treated.

In June, the new Manchester Cancer Research Centre building opened. It’s a partnership between Cancer Research UK, the University of Manchester, and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. The Centre will bring together leading researchers and doctors in the city to make new strides against cancer, playing a big part in our work to boost cutting-edge research across the UK.

A year of progress

You can read more about our year’s achievements in our Annual Review, and find out about the progress we’ve made through our strategy in our Annual Report and Accounts. It’s all down to our supporters – our progress is your progress, and we couldn’t do any of it without you.

Aine