This site is optimised for modern browsers. For the best experience, please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Case study: Mercy: research gave me hope after COVID-19 diagnosis

Mercy's story

Mercy Njoku was invited to take part in the NIHR-supported HEAL-COVID trial after being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in February 2022. The HEAL-COVID trial aims to identify treatments that could prevent or reduce long term symptoms in COVID-19 patients.

Mercy, from Lambeth in South London, said: “After leaving the hospital, I couldn't return to work for 6 months, I couldn't walk or socialise, and I needed help to do basic things such as cooking or cleaning. It felt almost as if I had to learn how to do simple things all over again.

Mercy is still experiencing the effects of long COVID, and believes that maintaining a positive mindset has been crucial during her recovery. Regular support from the research team also reassured her about her progress.

She added: “I still suffer from fatigue and shortness of breath, but I am getting stronger every day, and I thank God for the fact I am still here for my family.

"Research gives us hope. I had regular monthly calls from the HEAL-COVID research team, where they checked in about my recovery.

“The research nurse, Sara, encouraged me and pushed me to keep going. Her support meant a lot to me, and she celebrated every small milestone and success.

“My involvement in the study ended in February 2023, and I now really miss my calls with Sara! She and the team were so consistent and patient, and it was so nice to have someone so caring of me. It definitely helped my recovery.”

Mercy has taken part in research before, but the HEAL-COVID trial was the first time she had volunteered as a patient. After such a positive experience, she understands her contributions can go a long way to supporting others.

"The HEAL-COVID trial was the first time I took part in research that directly affected me, and I would do the same again in the future to help others.

“My message to other people with long COVID is ‘there is hope’. You can recover, stay positive and take things one step at a time. I'm feeling great and proud that I can do normal things, like going out to the shops again.

“I found the research really interesting and I think it can help people. I’d definitely encourage others to take part and share their experiences if they can. Your story can really make a difference to others.”

How you can get involved with research

Sign up to Be Part of Research to take part in a range of health and care research. You can also visit our 'How to take part' page to find out more about research trials that are happening now and in the future.

You can read more about thousands of research studies, including ongoing COVID-19 studies, on our ‘Search for study’ page. And if taking part in a study doesn’t feel right at the moment, there are other ways to get involved in research.