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Louis’ Story: Why I’m a Worldwide Cancer Research Fundraiser

Worldwide Cancer Research fundraiser Louis Clark has always been very close to his mum, even more so after his dad left them when he was a toddler. Growing up, his relationship with his dad was difficult and they only had sporadic contact – which dwindled further when Louis moved away with his mum and step-dad at the age of 9.

By the time Louis moved to Elgin and started working at a local shop at the age of 21, he and his dad hadn’t spoken in a decade. Then one day, Louis came home to find he had received a letter:

“My mum knew straight away that the letter was from my dad. Even after all that time, she still remembered his handwriting. I threw it straight in the bin, unopened. I remember that my mum tried to encourage me to see what he had to say, but I wasn’t interested. As far as I was concerned, he’d had his chance to speak to me.

A few weeks later, another letter arrived – with the same handwriting. This time mum fished it out of the bin and tried to give it back to me, but I ripped it up and threw it away again, in the dustbin outside.”

A fortnight later, Louis got a call at work.

It was his mum, saying that there was something she had to tell him and that he should go home immediately. Concerned about why she was calling, and unable to simply leave without a reason, Louis asked what was going on. That was when he found out that his dad had been diagnosed with lung cancer, and that he had just passed away.

“When I got home, my mum was devastated – she was crying for me, for what I had lost. But I couldn’t cry. I remember going to my room and turning on my computer to start playing a game and then just sitting, staring at the screen.

I think that was when it hit me – that he was gone. There were so many things now that I’d never get to say to him, and that he’d never get to say me. Some of those things might have been written down in the letters he sent – but of course, I’ll never know.

I wasn’t sure if I would attend the funeral – I wasn’t even sure if I had the right to be as upset as I was. But I decided last minute to go, and to be one of the pall-bearers. As I walked in, with Creed’s ‘One Last Breath’ playing quietly in the background, I spotted my mum – and I did get quite emotional.”

He might not have been a father to me – but he was still my dad

“I don’t want anyone else to go through the same thing as me – one of my biggest regrets is that I’ll never know what would have happened if I’d opened one of those letters. I’ve learnt to live with it, but it’s difficult to think about how things could have been different.

That’s why I’m so passionate about fundraising for Worldwide Cancer Research – I want the opportunity to talk to people and let them know that investing in the future really will have an impact. I’m not a scientist – I’m not going to be directly involved in the important research going on - but speaking to people on the street about it makes me feel like I’m doing my part. I just want to go out and try my hardest to inspire as many people as possible to support us.”

This year marks 40 years since Worldwide Cancer Research was founded

But it will also mark five years since Louis lost his dad to lung cancer. Twice as many people now survive cancer compared to when we started out, but 1 in 2 people in the UK will now be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Recently we committed £4million of funding to 20 new cancer research projects, but we know that there were 80 other great ideas that we simply lacked the funding for.

We need to fund more bold research and save more lives – lives like Louis’ dad’s. Instead of celebrating our birthday we’re setting ourselves a goal, to find 5,000 new supporters across the UK this year. That’s why Louis – and the rest of our fundraising team – are out there right now, asking people to sign up to support our research. Please go and say hello.

Please click here to donate £5 per month to fund more life-saving cancer research. You can also call us on 0300 777 7910.

Or text Worldwide to 70004 to donate £10
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