Last ever collection for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity. A crying shame.

I spent a very interesting couple of hours outside Tesco in Heswall on Saturday morning holding a bucket to collect money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, a 50 year old charity that raises money for actual research into these horrible cancers. Lots of charities offer support, information and so on, but few actually raise money and have their own labs investigating and seeking cures.

In those two hours, I collected just over £156, which I thought was an excellent total given that there were two of us on shift. It was very interesting to see the sort of people who were donating money and chat to some of those who did.

Mostly, the donors were elderly, female and often with a story to tell of a loved one who had or has leukaemia or lymphoma. There were people in wheelchairs and young kids, desperate for a sticker. “Thanks Mum!”

Fewer were young or even middle aged men. It was noticeable that the most generous were those that appeared to have the least – a sign of the times, and an encouragement to try to do more to help.

However, this is the last time that these particular buckets will be aired. In their infinite wisdom, the great and the good of this charity have decided to change the name to “Bloodwise” in September. How incredibly stupid is this? “Bloodwise”? What does that mean?

At present, this is one of those charities that does exactly what it says on the collecting tin. “Bloodwise” means nothing.

Every time someone goes out collecting for “Bloodwise”, they will have to explain what the charity is for, what it does and who it helps. During this time, other donors will be missed. Not so with “LLR”.

“Bloodwise” could be collecting money for diabetes, sycle-cell disease, HIV, anaemia or any number of other blood-related disorders.

I have spoken to and Tweeted the charity, for whom I am a supporter and recent committee member. The general membership are up in arms about this ridiculous and expensive name change, but apparently the decision has been made, after two years of “widespread consultation”.

People have already resigned from the fund raising committee locally and I can see more joining them. They have been desperate to bring younger members to the committee (like me!) because many have been leaving from having served on it for decades. They are going to find it very hard indeed to recruit if the purpose and aims of the charity aren’t absolutely clear.

With “Bloodwise”, that most certainly is not the case.

Shame on the powers that be – it will be the patients and dedicated supporters who suffer, not them. I will keep a close eye on their accounts going forward, paying particular attention to the amount and proportion donated to actual research. 

When is their AGM, I wonder?

14 thoughts on “Last ever collection for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity. A crying shame.”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been a fund raiser for over 10 years and think it is ludicrous to change the name. The fact that the Forget Me Not Logo isn’t going to be used is a slight to our loved ones. We have a Forget Me Not Fund in our Son’s name and the symbol means a lot to us

  2. My parents founded this charity in 1960 after the death of my 6 yr old sister Susan Eastwood, as Leukaemia Research and my mother said our emblem was to be the forget me not as it was her favourite flower, and had a meaning for everyone. I like you was quite surprised by the name change but I’m afraid it was a done deal before I even knew. Please continue to support us, as when I started explaining what Leukaemia was in 1960 I will have to explain again, so if I can do it I’m sure you can. Thanks for your support so far from the founding family .

  3. As Chairman of our local branch I was also utterly disgusted with the choice of this new horrendous name and I have on behalf of my committee, who also agree with me about the name change and total waste of money £130,000 to change the name, have written to Cathy Gilman (CEO LLR) to state our concerns which are the same as yours. Their response was that they had consulted the public, patients and committees (only 11 groups contacted) and all felt it was the right thing to do. Quite clearly they only contacted those that were yes people and didn’t give the other dedicated groups that raise money for them the choice – unlike last time when they add Lymphoma to the name just under 5 years ago; or did they fear that the answer would be a big NO leave it alone if they contacted ALL the groups/fundraisers. I have since been contacted by members of the public to be simply asked WHY – they all say LLR worked it raised money for ALL Blood Cancers to be Researched and CURED. I lost my darling little daughter Daisy at the tender age of 10 to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and have been raising funds since 1989 and serving on my local committee since 1991, but I to am now considering my position. The total waste of money to change a name that worked to something that i am most certain won’t and will loose it’s public support. Long live the Leukaemia Research Fund and if there was a way to keep it going I would most certainly give it my support.

  4. I support the new name change fully. Perhaps it helps that I have only been involved as a fund raiser for the charity for a couple of years. I am absolutely convinced of the need for change having carried out workshops with school kids who have really struggled with the old name. The research has established that it is not memorable; it does not say what it does since it misses out many different types of blood cancer and makes no reference to much needed patient support; it is a barrier to potential corporate partnerships and it does not stand out from other blood cancer charities.
    The new name has much greater impact. It is following a trend among many major charities to have a one word name : Oxfam, Mind, Shelter, Scope, Mencap. The new colour palette is modern and striking. I fully believe that with the extra publicity generated by the launch, the costs will be more than made up for by extra donations.
    I think maybe you should give it a chance. It is the same charity doing the same work at the end of the day. If it works, well that is fantastic as it means more incredible work can be done. If it doesn’t, you can have the sad satisfaction of saying “told you so”.

  5. Thank you to everyone who has responded to this blog post, especially Sylvia who has such a personal link with the charity.

    I’m afraid that I haven’t changed my mind about the name change, but time will tell with regards to whether it was a good idea or not.

    However, I would never be one to say “I told you so” – the top brass at the charity will know that without me telling them.

    1. Fully agree with you Andy – time will tell, and I hope for the future patients sake it does not fail; and for Bev’s finally comment I find “I told you so” somewhat childish, totally unthoughtful and said without any regard for those that democratically stand up for their right to voice their opinion; in addition, as well as stand out in all weathers collecting for a cause so dear to them – I lost my 10 year old daughter with ALL 20 years ago and have raised thousands of pounds for the LLR and when out collecting the Words Leukaemia mean MORE to anybody than that single word bloodwise ever will.

  6. I am totally in agreement with this article. The LRF funded my PhD, LLR funded my postdoc positions. I’ve worked and fund-raised for this charity for over a decade, being proud to wear my little forget-me-not badge! As I write this, I’m sat at an international conference and a speaker just concluded his presentation with a page of his sponsors and “Bloodwise” is amongst them in its depressing, boring black font. My neighbour has just joked “bloodwise? This means what?” I find this name-change very sad.

    1. What can you do when the people at the top believe that the word Leukaemia means nothing to most people and that this new name is the way forward. Half of my committee are leaving and giving the main reason for the total waste of funds to this name change and that the name means nothing to people. All I can say is keep up your good work under the banner of LLR Scientist.

  7. I cannot believe that what I gather is the 4th largest medical research charity has any definitive rationale that this ridiculous name change will generate more money (after they pay off the name change costs) and jeopardise the well being of vulnerable patients and families. I have been involved for some considerable time with a number of charities whose group experience is that the general public prefer to seek out specific and easily recognisable causes. I carried out my own – completely unrepresentative survey of friends and strangers – none of whom guessed the correct medical charity from Bloodwise. Most thought it was HIV/AIDS, Haemophilia, Blood Transfusion and many hadn’t a clue.
    I can’t even give away some of the free promotion items as people have said the logo black pens and pencils are rather scary – I have to concur as I think the black and white logo looks rather funereal. Why change something that wasn’t broke? The excuse I was given was that the previous name “wasn’t working hard enough” – having studied research methodology and had my work published – I have no idea what this means!
    I sell this charity’s goods at an annual Christmas sale for a large number of charities and, worryingly, this year the cards and goods for Bloodwise are being ignored so far in comparison with eight previous years when Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research goods required re-stocking at even this early stage.
    I am so pleased in the past to have raised thousands for this charity but I genuinely fear that fundraisers will be working overtime to overcome the confusion and lack of recognition of this outrageously expensive name change. I sincerely hope that patients, medical and nursing staff, researchers and families will not be adversely affected by some non-evidenced based whim of change for the sake of change.

    1. Once again, thank you for all of this comments on this blog post.

      While the whole blog is a bit of vanity, really, I am heartened by the support which continues to be offered regarding this very important issue.

      I fear that it is too late to change anything now – there would be too much “face lost” if the decision were to be reversed. Not to say “jobs lost” too.

      The really disappointing thing is the evidence that is starting to come through that this was indeed a very bad decision by the charity and one that will, in all likelihood, affect collections adversely.

      And for that, we are all the worse off.

  8. Hi Andy,
    I have only today seen your blog and comments about Bloodwise.
    I absolutely agree with all you say about the name change. I was part of a branch in Scotland for 25years till two years ago. We were told that we were the branch in Scotland that raised the most money (over £800,000 in our time) yet we weren’t asked about the name-change. All our committee members were of a mind that it was a terrible move but, as I say, we weren’t approached for an opinion even though there are just a few branches north of the border.
    I wonder how successful the change has been? Have you had any feedback?
    All the best, Shirley

    1. Thank you for your reply, Andy. I’m not surprised to see the difference in the figures but very saddened too as the LRF, then LLR as we knew it, was always a charity that had a good name (with Leukaemia being one of the vital words in the title, we felt) with a loyal support base. Sadly, perhaps the latter’s involvement has dropped back due to the handling of events in recent years. I could say more from a personal point of view but feel I ought not to in a semi public forum.
      I would say too that undoubtedly the name change will mean new supporters are likely to be harder to reach. Not a Wise step!
      I very much hope you are keeping well, Shirley

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