Talk us through your typical day
No two days are the same for me. Each family charity partner I support has their own style and personality – I love tailoring their experience so it’s personalised to them and their needs.
My day might include writing research reports updating the families on what they have made possible through their support, helping them to communicate the science and our achievements or progress to their own supporters, or organising tours of our research labs for them.
How does your work contribute to our mission?
The support from our family charity partners makes a significant contribution to our mission to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. Their generosity has made amazing progress possible in our childhood cancer research.
These charities contribute around £1m a year to our research. Their funding enriches our work in so many ways – funding multiple cancer types, aspects of research and research stages. Crucially, this includes generous support of multiple pilot and early phase studies. This work can be challenging to secure funding for. Incredible achievements have stemmed from family charity partners’ belief and investment in our early work.
Family charity partners have also been a fantastic support in our policy work over the years. Their involvement has helped us to highlight the human, personal stories behind our research aims. They embody why we do what we do.
What makes you want to work for the ICR?
I’ve been working at the ICR for over 11 years. I joined shortly after finishing university and knew right away that I’d struck gold!
I’m offering donors a very intimate experience where they can have a close relationship with the world-class researchers they are supporting. I can show them first-hand the research they are supporting in action. The impact of all of their hard work is really tangible to them. Not all fundraisers have this opportunity and it’s a key part of why I love working here.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
If I had to pick one thing, it would be showing the families around the labs and introducing them to researchers. During these visits they get to hear about the progress that their hard work has made possible. You can see their pride as it’s part of their child’s legacy. You really can’t beat that.
I also love these lab tours myself – I still feel a bit giddy putting on a lab coat! I’m so lucky to see the research first-hand and I learn something new on every lab tour.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud and thankful to do what I do every day. I feel like I work with superheroes. Our researchers are dedicated beyond belief. The depth and breadth of our childhood cancer research is astonishing.
It’s hard to put into words how awe-inspiring the family charity partners are. They are normal people doing extraordinary things in the most unimaginable of circumstances. Their ability to turn their loss into hope and progress continues to blow me away.
Being part of helping these charities to achieve their aim to improve the outlook for other children and their families is a privilege and an honour. I’m incredibly proud to be a small part of their journey to fulfil their child’s legacy.
Nicola Shaw (second in from the right) with Professor Janet Shipley (third in from the left) and Trustees of the Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation, who support Janet’s research.