Macmillan Cancer Support has launched an uplifting film entitled ‘Live Your Legacy’ (#LYL) inviting people throughout the UK to ask themselves how they would like to be remembered after they die.
Aimed at raising awareness of the importance of gifts in wills, the short film includes comments and observations from a selection of people who, while very different from each other, all share a common desire – to leave a lasting legacy.
The film features Alex Hutchings, 38, from Swindon who is a huge fundraiser for Macmillan and he has built a boat from scratch entirely from donated materials.
The boat – below – which is currently docked in Southampton, will be auctioned and the money raised will be given to Macmillan.
His legacy is to raise enough money to fund a Macmillan nurse for a year so others get support that wasn’t available for him when his father was diagnosed, and then who sadly died of cancer. His aim is to get the ‘Rib 4 Macmillan’ boat into The Southampton Boat Show. Read about Alex’s commitment below
The Macmillan ‘Live Your Legacy’ campaign, which is being launched at the start of Dying Matters Awareness Week (12 to 18 May), also serves to remind people about the importance of having an up to date professionally written will to help people ensure their loved ones and favourite causes are looked after, in the event of their death.
Macmillan is keen to extend the challenge to a wider audience and is urging people to ask themselves the question “What is your legacy?”
Supporters who would like to get involved are invited to record a 10 second clip and upload it to twitter between 12 and 18 May, using the hashtags #LYL and #YODO, the official hashtag for this year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week.
Including a reference to @Remembermac will ensure the film is picked up by the team at Macmillan. Alternatively films can be submitted via email to email@example.com
Danielle Tanner, Macmillan Cancer Support Mass Planning Manager, said: “Death is something we all have in common, yet it is a subject that few of us like to talk about. We wanted to flip this taboo topic on its head and focus on something positive that people are happy to share: their legacy and the way they would like to be remembered.”
There are currently over two million people living with cancer in the UK, a figure which is set to double by 2030. With one in three people developing cancer in their lifetime, the emotional, financial and practical support provided by Macmillan is vital to ensure no one faces cancer alone.
Film producer and actress, Amanda Waring, one of the film’s contributors explained: “I was excited to be approached about being involved with the #LYL film. Macmillan cared for my mother, Dame Dorothy Tutin, when she was terminally ill and I have seen the benefits first hand of having a Macmillan team in my corner.
“As part of my work in improving compassion and dignity for elders at the end of their life, I actively encourage people to ask themselves: What do you want your legacy to be? It’s a really enlightening exercise. I really hope I can make an impact through my work in this area and this will be my legacy.”
Legacy donations make up more than a third of Macmillan’s entire income. There are currently around 32.5 million people in the UK do not have a will. If there is no will the rules of intestacy will dictate how any property and money will be distributed and the real risk is that preferred family and causes get nothing at all.
In a bid to facilitate the will writing process Macmillan provides a discounted will writing service.
To find out more about leaving a gift to Macmillan in your will call 0800 107 4448 or visit macmillan.org.uk/legacies
Alex Hutchings talks about his legacy
I first learned about Macmillan Cancer Support two years ago when my friend told me about the work they do and the support they provide to families and individuals affected by cancer.
When my father, Graham Hutchings, was diagnosed with Mesothelioma cancer, caused by asbestos, at the age of 67, we didn’t know about Macmillan Cancer Support and the services they provide.
I wish I would have known about Macmillan back then because the support and care they provide would have been extremely beneficial to me and my father. I cared for him and we were very much alone.
I will never forget the day I received that phone call to let me know my dad was ill. I was at work as an operations manager but I dropped the phone immediately and walked straight out.
During Christmas 2012, my father showed signs that he was becoming ill. The doctors didn’t know what was causing it and thought it could be fluid in the lungs so they drained them. Once Christmas had passed, they were able to diagnose him with cancer.
Within four weeks of his diagnosis, my father’s health had rapidly declined and sadly he passed away – I was holding his hand when he died. I cared for him and felt very alone.
One of the hardest things about the process was the fact that everything seemed to move so quickly; we booked someone to fit a handrail but that could not be fitted because by the time they could come, my father was not able to get upstairs any longer.
This is why leaving a lasting legacy is so important to me.
I want to change the way that people fundraise and create new and exciting ways to raise money by empowering others to do what they are good at.
Last year, I organised an event in the Isle of Wight called the ‘Isle of Wight for Macmillan’ to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. I invited boat owners to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight.
I set up a JustGiving account and an online forum to publicise it and we attracted 48 boats, and various media. In total we raised just under £9,000 which was a great achievement and something which could start to bring my legacy to fruition.
To continue my legacy and raise money for Macmillan I have built a boat out of nothing but donations, donated parts and the good will from great people, which is currently being stored in Southampton. It’s called the ‘Rib 4 Macmillan’ and it will be auctioned on eBay and the money raised will be given to Macmillan.
The military boat which was donated to me had all of its parts missing but people have been so supportive and have been sending us everything we need to bring this boat to life. I have been travelling to Southampton at the weekends and building the boat, which could even be the most famous second-hand boat in the world.
My aim is to get it into the Southampton Boat Show and I am currently working on a strategy to make this happen.
When you have bereavement it’s like carrying a cannonball in your stomach. If I could make someone else’s journey easier by raising enough money to pay for a Macmillan nurse for a year, I know I would have left a meaningful lasting legacy behind. The more I do, the smaller my weight becomes.
Giving others opportunities to help means so much to us all. I am determined to not let other people go through this.
I believe all the people who work for Macmillan Cancer Support are heroes – they help people through what can be some of the toughest times and I want to do everything in my power to ensure that more people affected by cancer receive the care and support they need.