The business of facts and truths

In a couple of days I’ll be arriving at the Dundee Cancer Centre, the first of 16 Cancer Research UK funded centres throughout the country that I’ll be walking to.

So this seems like a good point at which to go into a little bit more detail about the second intention of the Where’s Wallace? project. The fundraising’s ticking along nicely, but I’ve got another job to do now which involves learning as much as I can about what the money being raised will go towards funding, and then sharing what I learn with you.

The clue, rather helpfully, is in the charity’s name – Cancer Research UK. But what does it actually mean?

From my own experience of working at a university, I know that the meaning of research is not always very easily understood. Investigations, analyses, findings, conclusions, reports and papers. There’s a lot going on in there.

Scientific medical research in particular can be extra tricky to understand, but the outcomes, for the most part, are helpfully tangible. The research works to discover the facts and the truth of the matters at hand, and at Cancer Research UK they’re using those discoveries to help improve the ways in which they can prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

And it’s the business of facts and truths that Where’s Wallace? will be concerning itself with. As I make my way around the country, meeting the men and women who are toiling over the mysteries of cancer, I’ll be passing what they tell me on to you.

It’ll be from the horse’s mouth, as I see and hear it and nothing more.

More often than not, and despite obvious assumptions about the meaning of the words ‘facts and ‘truth”, research leads to debate, and rightly so. The process of questioning the answers, and subsequently refining the questions, is part and parcel of the methods of progress.

I need to point out though that Where’s Wallace? isn’t part of that debate. What we’re dealing with here is a shared education where I will only be participating as the pupil.

The things I see and hear will not see me qualified in any way to directly answer questions that people might have about research into cancer, diagnoses or the development of treatments and therapies. For questions and queries of that nature, I can only direct you to Cancer Research UK’s website and information pages, which should always be your first port of call.

I’m also aware that cancer is a highly emotive topic in a number of other arenas, which again, Where’s Wallace? won’t be stepping into. Politics, economics, the law and religion won’t be debated here. That’s not to say that I don’t think debates in those areas aren’t important, but this isn’t a forum under which I think they can or should be discussed.

So, here we go! Off to Dundee and the learning begins! I’m really excited about this, and as I visit each of the research centres I’m excited about sharing what I learn with you. The hope is that we can all get a better understanding of why it’s so important that we continue to raise as much money as possible to support the work of Cancer Research UK.