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Case study: Paying it forward - Kyra's Research Story

Read Kyra's Research Story, published to mark Women In Science Day

Kyra Rai, Clinical Research Intern for CRN West Midlands has a very personal reason for seeking a career in clinical research. Kyra, age 27, from Halesowen, joined the Network in November 2020 working in the laboratories at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

She says: ‘Back in 1995 I was a very poorly baby and Professor Jeremy Kirk diagnosed me with diabetes at Birmingham Children’s Hospital A&E.

‘The GP had told my parents it was a cold but I was clearly very sick and Jeremy (currently the CRN West Midlands’ Clinical Director) had me tested for diabetes - I was the youngest patient they had ever seen with the condition but he recognised diabetic ketoacidosis.

‘Ever since hearing the story from my mum and dad, who was always so full of praise for Jeremy, and the reassuring way he dealt with my case, which led to me recovering very well, I took an interest in his work.

‘At four or five years old, I attended a Diabetes Team Christmas party at which he played Santa - I was so in awe that Father Christmas knew my name!

‘My mum Bal works at Birmingham University and she saw him last year - he recognised her instantly, even after all these years. Jeremy saved my life with his knowledge and compassion and it made me want to give something back.

‘I studied Medical Science at Wolverhampton University and looked for an opportunity to join the Network after reading online that Jeremy was its Clinical Director, and I love it.’

Professor Kirk says: ‘Of course I remember Kyra very well. She was one of the sickest children I have ever seen, but gratified that she made a full recovery, I am delighted to hear that she was inspired to apply for one of our internships as a result of her childhood experiences’.