Re-writing the narrative of cancer

After James Tumilty lost his life to cancer, his partner Ronald is supporting Manchester’s efforts to improve survival rates and find solutions to the disease.

Share Read about how Ronald’s donation will contribute towards Manchester’s fight against cancer Share on X 'It didn’t go right for James but that doesn’t mean it won’t go right in the future'. Read Ronald’s story Share on X Find out why Ronald is joining others and donating to Re-Write Cancer Share on X


Before his retirement in 1999, James Tumilty was the Managing Director of The Anglo-American Research Laboratory in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“As a person, he was erudite and had a wealth of knowledge”, says Ronald. “He was loved, admired as well as respected by me, his family and friends. It was like living with a genius. He was always explaining complex issues – and simplifying them.”

Ronald and James lived in Johannesburg until 2006 before moving to Bordeaux, France, and then finally settling in Wilmslow in James’ house in which he had housed both his parents, and which he was very proud to have been able to restore and extend, to become the home where he and Ronald could finally stay.

In 2016, James was diagnosed with cancer and, after almost a two-year battle, died at home on 23rd September 2018.

“I could see how devastating cancer is”

“From my daily experience of looking after him, I could see how devastating cancer is. The last two years of his life were quite volatile, with all the pain and disappointments – he knew as a scientist that there was no hope. With all his frequent hospital admissions, James met so many other sick patients and could see how their lives had become affected by cancer.

If we can override James’ situation and try and get it right so that it’s a benefit to others then that’s a very positive thing. I think if he were here now, he would feel encouraged.

During his time at the Anglo-American Corporation, he was familiar with The University of Manchester and spoke very highly of it, as he did with other major universities that were carrying out research and development of a similar calibre.

To erect a headstone in his memory at a cemetery seemed to be of little benefit.  With most of his family dotted all around the world, visits would be difficult. Therefore I had decided it would be more useful to put the money towards the furthering of cancer research.

It didn’t go right for James but that doesn’t mean it won’t go right in the future, especially if we can establish facilities such as that which the University aims to build.”

Re-write Cancer

Manchester is one of the leading forces in the fight against cancer and is at the forefront of the global mission to improve cancer treatment.

This city is uniquely and ideally placed to be able to find solutions due to the links between The University of Manchester, The Christie NHS Foundations Trust and Cancer Research UK who have been working together for more than a decade.

Alongside The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Cancer Research UK, we recently launched the Re-write Cancer campaign. The campaign is raising money to build a new cancer facility to replace the Paterson building which was lost to a fire in 2017. The new facility will be a unique collaborative space where scientists, researchers and patients can combine forces to change the face of cancer research. We aim to open the centre in 2022 – right in the heart of Manchester.

Every gift – no matter how big or small – plays an enormous part in this campaign, and Ronald Hyman’s recent gift is no different. He has given a generous donation in memory of his late partner, James, who lost his battle with cancer in 2018.

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