Jo, Volunteer of the Month - May 2016
Jo Williamson – Cancer Campaigns Ambassador and Legacy Visionary
Having seen the devastating effects of cancer first hand, Jo is determined to raise funds and awareness for Cancer Research UK.
“In 1993 my wife was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live. Fortunately she was able to uptake a radioactive isotope which prolonged a normal life for the next ten years, but the toxicity took its toll and she passed away.
About four years ago we found out that it was now possible to genetically test for the gene which caused my wife’s cancer. My four children got tested and my youngest two, boy and girl twins, have inherited the faulty gene. My son had three tumours in his stomach removed, but he has another in his carotid artery which is impossible to operate on. My daughter had radiotherapy on a tumour in her jugular vein to stop the growth, but it is also impossible to operate on.
I had been an ongoing fund raiser for CRUK since 1993, raising £30,000 to help fund research into the gene. However I wanted to do more, so signed up as a Cancer Campaigns Ambassador, helping to create the political will to act on prevention, early diagnosis and treatments.
As a Cancer Campaigns Ambassador I’ve gained the support of different members of parliament and persuaded my MP to vote to support the campaign for standard cigarette packaging. Campaigning on behalf of Cancer Research UK makes a real difference to helping beat cancer sooner. This ultimately means that millions of families throughout the world will not have to deal with the terrible disease that cancer is and the devastation it causes to everyone touched by it.”
Nominator and Regional Legacy Manager, Sarah, said:
“I met Jo eighteen months ago at a Cancer Research UK Volunteers’ Day where he spoke movingly and eloquently about his family’s journey with cancer. I felt compelled to thank him afterwards, and Jo has since become an amazing legacy supporter and ambassador for Cancer Research UK, speaking at events, raising awareness within the community and introducing me to potential supporters. He also become our first Legacy Visionary here in Scotland by pledging a considerable gift in his will to Cancer Research UK.
Jo is a total force to be reckoned with. His steely determination to raise funds and awareness is relentless. He has thrown himself into his role as CRUK Ambassador with gusto and enthusiasm and I can think of no better representation of someone who has dedicated his life to furthering our commitment to beat cancer sooner. It is a total honour to work with him and have his amazing support.”
Fellow volunteer and Ambassador, Rosa, said:
“Jo is a driven individual and highly motivated to help us beat cancer sooner despite the personal burden the disease has caused him and his family over the years. If anything, the very personal effect cancer has had on his wife and children has only added to the determination , not only to support our research scientists but he has gone a step further in engaging internationally with scientists to undertake clinical trials and studies into the rare form of cancer his wife and children have”