The 100th anniversary of Macmillan Cancer Support, which provides care for the terminally ill, has been celebrated by the Prince of Wales. Charles, patron of the charity for 21 years, paid tribute to the efforts of its staff, donors and nurses as he hosted a reception in their honour at Clarence House. He told invited guests that the organisation had grown immeasurably since it was founded in 1911 by Douglas Macmillan, who saw his father die from cancer.
It now employs 5,000 nurses to provide care in people’s homes and is an important weapon in the fight against the disease, with estimates predicting that four million people will be living with cancer by 2030 – double current figures.
“An occasion like this, I think, does provide another opportunity to remember the extraordinary far-sightedness and determination of the founder, Douglas Macmillan, all those years ago.
“And as somebody who from time to time has tried to start my own organisation, I can imagine how difficult it must have been, and he probably came across all sorts of scepticism, barriers and obstacles of one kind and another – and he persisted.”
Funds needed to carry out the work are generated mostly by public donations and the charity is expecting to raise £136.5 million by the end of the year. During the 10-year period to September 2010, Macmillan gave more than £73 million in grants to some 180,000 people. Charles cut a cake to mark the charity’s 100th birthday and, before taking a slice, joked with his guests, asking: “Shall I stab it?”.
The Prince went on to tell his invited audience, who included Health Secretary Andrew Lansley:
“Macmillan Cancer Support is continuing to push the understanding of cancer with its focus on helping people to live with their cancer and be healthy – in body, mind and spirit.
“But what I think has remained constant has been the vision of its founder – that everyone should get the best treatment, care and support, and that this should be delivered in a compassionate, caring and human way.”