A Tayside dad who lost his wife to a rare genetic cancer is starring in a new UK-wide TV awareness campaign.
Father of four Jo Williamson features in a moving advert highlighting Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work and the fact that it is made possible thanks to people who leave gifts in their wills.
The 67-year-old, who now lives in Auchterhouse, seven miles north west of Dundee, lost Sue, 57, just two days before Christmas in 2003 after a 10-year fight with the disease.
The campaign, I Pledge, encourages people from all walks of life to make a promise to leave something in their will to Cancer Research UK.
Retired wine buyer Jo also features in newspaper and bus stop adverts, and in posters throughout the UK in the charity’s 600 shops.
Jo, who features at the end of the minute-long advert, said: “My wife Sue was a great family person and our children were absolutely the most important part of her life.
“We were married for 28 years and there are so many special things we all miss about her.
“I’m fortunate now to have seven grandchildren and I know how much Sue would have loved them too.
“It is so sad that she didn’t live long enough to meet our grandchildren. They bring me so much joy and I would have loved for her to share in that joy.”
The family were hit with another hammer blow in 2010 when doctors informed them the cancer Sue died from, named Pheyochromocytoma, is caused by a faulty gene.
Eldest children Katie and Jonathan do not have the faulty SDH-B gene, but 38-year-old twins, Jennie Chinembiri and James Williamson, both sadly do.
James has had five benign tumours removed while Jennie has two tumours which are being monitored rigorously by doctors.
Joe said any money he leaves in his will would go to his four children as well as his “fifth child” — research into cancer.
He said: “I plan to divide everything in to five.
“We’ve been fighting cancer as a family for a long time now. I want to help fund vital research in to cancer to protect future generations.
“Leaving a legacy is such an important part of helping scientists find cures for the terrible disease that cancer is. It is a powerful way to leave an incredible gift of hope.”
Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Scotland added: “We hope Jo’s commitment inspires as many people as possible to consider leaving a legacy to the charity.
“When someone writes Cancer Research UK into their will they are enabling long-term research projects that lead to new treatments and cures.
“Our progress in the fight against this devastating disease relies on donations from the public. We need the unstoppable force of our supporters and researchers to speed up breakthroughs and save more lives.”
Cancer Research UK partners with solicitors across the UK to provide a free will writing service for over 55s who want to write or update a simple will.