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The power of a piece of paper

Published on 11 January 2013
Source: Arthritis Today

Paper has lots of uses, but as legacy advisor Jon Chase explains, there is a kind of paper that is one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against arthritis.

Even in the digital age, paper still manages to have thousands of uses every day – parking tickets, the pages of a magazine or something to write a quick note on. Yet there’s one instance when paper can do so much more, and that’s when it comes to ensuring that the people that are important to us are cared for, and that the causes closest to our hearts benefit.

Pam HibbsA will is a personal document and everyone has different reasons for what goes into them. Pam Hibbs, a former nurse, is 76 and has had inflammatory osteoarthritis since her late 20s. It runs in her family, affecting her cousin too.  She has just undergone her twelfth operation.  Last year, Pam attended one of our events and having heard about our ambitious work decided to include a gift to Arthritis Research UK in her will. “Though I’ve had severe arthritis, my cousin’s inflammatory osteoarthritis was worse than mine,” Pam explains, “and I wanted to change things. I know personally how debilitating it can be and I want to help others.”

A gift in a will can have a huge impact, and this was something that was important to Pam’s decision. “I want, someday, for everyone with arthritis to be able to live free from pain and to make the most of their lives, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this hope,” she says. In fact, almost half of Arthritis Research UK’s work couldn’t happen without gifts included in wills; they are a vital part of ensuring that a vision like Pam’s can become reality.

Many people would like to include a gift in their will to charity but believe that it’s something only for people with lots of money or large estates. While some charities do receive gifts from wealthy supporters, it is a myth that a gift has to be a large amount. Whether it is a few hundred pounds, several thousand, or a percentage of an estate, every gift makes a real difference. Gifts of any size allow us to continue investing in research that will help people remain active, doing the things they love.

Jack and Mildred HallamJack and Mildred Hallam also chose to include a gift to Arthritis Research UK in their will.  They lived in Retford, Nottinghamshire, where Jack, who was affected by arthritis in his ankles and hands, retired as a local bank manager in 1984. As their son David Hallam remembers: “Dad’s friends joked that with his background he would find himself getting requests from local charities to be their treasurer – which is just what happened!” However, it was Arthritis Research UK (then the Arthritis Research Campaign) that Jack chose to volunteer for, becoming the Retford branch’s treasurer.  In fact he and Mildred were energetic fundraisers for 18 years.

David believes that his parents included Arthritis Research UK in their wills because of the commitment and passion they had built up for the charity. He adds: “Having devoted so much of their time and energy to fundraising, I think it was nice that they carried on their support in this way.”

Including a gift in a will to charity doesn’t have to be at the expense of loved ones either. In fact it is possible to care both for the people and causes close to you in your will, just as Jack and Mildred Hallam did. When David thinks about his parents’ gifts, he puts it simply: “It was a fine thing to do and I’m proud that they did it.”

Arthritis Research UK is very grateful to everyone who has chosen to include a gift in their will to help continue our work and we would like to say:  ‘thank you’. 

Click here for more information about including a gift to Arthritis Research UK in your will.

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