16 May 2017

We’re supporting the I Am Research campaign

A 76 year old sound engineer can keep doing the things he loves thanks to clinical research.

John Rhodes took up the opportunity to participate in a trial after he was diagnosed with small bowel cancer and kidney disease.

John is one of over 500,000 people a year who take part in research in England.

On Saturday 20 May, the clinical research community in the North Thames will celebrate International Clinical Trials Day. This special day is held each year to highlight the fantastic clinical research that takes place all over the world, and share the important impact research has had on medicine to date. This year the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have launched a brand new national campaign to mark the day: ‘I Am Research’.

John, from Essex, explains his first-hand experience of the difference clinical trials can make: “Needless to say it was a frightening diagnosis to be given. The staff at Broomfield hospital where I was treated were fantastic though and provided me with the greatest level of care.

“The cancer was being treated successfully but kidney disease remained. Something had to be done. Then I was thrown a lifeline. I was invited to take part in a clinical trial.”

NHS trusts across the NIHR Clinical Research Network in North Thames are embracing the new campaign and will be opening their doors on and around the day, inviting visitors to find out more about the wide range of research happening in their organisations and how they can take part.

John said: “I took part in a clinical trial testing a new treatment for managing kidney function and had a very positive result. The nurses and researchers working on the trial were so supportive and the treatment has meant I’ve been able to avoid the burden of dialysis and am still able to life a full life.

“At 76 I’m still able to do the work I love as a sound engineer in the local theatre and running sound systems at events. I know that I wouldn’t be in this fortunate position if it wasn’t for the staff at the hospital and the opportunity given to me through clinical research.

“For me, clinical research is crucial to enable medical practice to continually move forward. I’m so grateful I was given the opportunity to participate in a trial and I know that they’ll be so many others like me, benefiting from this crucial work.”

To celebrate the experiences of people like John and the wide range of research taking place across the Network over 30 events are planned across the North Thames region including a fun ‘Research Trail’ at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a full day of talks from award-winning academics and clinicians, patients and others at Barts Health NHS Trust as well as a number of stalls and workshops. A London wide Theatre of Debate event will also take place to mark international Clinical Trials Day, featuring a screening of a short film ‘People Are Messy’, which explores clinical research from the perspective of a participant.

Kathryn Simpson, Research Portfolio Manager who is planning research celebrations at The Whittington Hospital said: “Each year we hold an event to mark International Clinical Trials Day. It’s a great opportunity for us to share all of the great research that takes place here at The Whittington and really raise awareness of the research opportunities that are available to patients and the public and how to get involved”

To find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved in events across the Network, visit www.iamresearch.co.uk or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmResearch