Georgina from Cambridge has become one of the latest members of the NIHR BioResource. She has worked in the public sector for nearly 20 years and we followed her journey as she explained why she wanted to sign up for clinical research.
"My mum died from breast cancer more than 20 years ago and obviously that was a horrible time for my family," says Georgina.
"When mum passed there weren’t many treatments to help people with cancer and I wasn’t aware of anything I could do to help research. I always assumed you had to have a condition to take part in clinical trials.
“Since then, I’ve been interested in the health sector and I worked for the blood service for 15 years. I’ve seen lots of research stories on the news and how hospitals are finding better ways to treat health conditions.
“I became a blood donor and joined the organ donor register, but it’s always been at the back of my mind that I could do more.”
“Having a busy lifestyle I never got round to properly looking about how I could help or had no idea where to start.
“Then one day after talking to some people I found out about the NIHR BioResource.
“I was told I could sign up just by donating a small blood or saliva sample and then, if I am invited to take part in studies, I would be able to take part when they suited me.
“That sounded so easy and this felt like the perfect way I could give something back to the NHS.”
Giving something back
“I emailed the team there and then and asked to join.
It was straightforward to arrange an appointment that suited me, and two days after my email they sent back a friendly response with details of where to go, what I needed to do before my visit, and how I could claim back my parking.
“Importantly, they also sent me the patient information sheet to read before my appointment. This told me exactly what would happen on the day.”
“I arrived on site and found the clinic easily, although I was a little apprehensive waiting in the reception. But when the research nurse, Barbara came out to greet me, she was so friendly she really made me feel at ease.
“We then went into a private room, where Barbara and I looked through the patient information sheet, giving me ample opportunity to ask questions or discuss any concerns. Barbara went through anything that I didn’t understand and was very clear on what being part of the BioResource involves.
“I found out that I would only be asked to take part in a maximum of four studies a year, but Barbara also told me that even if I’m not called back, my blood sample is still helping researchers with their investigations.
“I then filled in a couple of forms about my personal health history, sat back in comfy chair and gave a sample of blood.”
“Barbara made me feel very relaxed and explained how the lab will process my blood and, by isolating DNA from my sample, determine my genetic make-up.
“If my sample matches a researcher’s criteria, the NIHR BioResource will send me an invitation, asking whether or not I would like to take part in the study.
“But it would be up to me to decide if I want to take part.”
“After my blood sample had been given, Barbara offered me a biscuit and a drink and waited for a few minutes to make sure I was fine, then I was free to go.
“All this was done within 30 minutes.
“I walked away knowing that my blood is helping researchers find answers and treatments to some major health conditions.”
If you are inspired by Georgina’s story, why not find out more information on how you can get involved and sign up today?
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