Case study: Why I am championing research: Dave’s story
"Research Champions make a difference because they can give reassurance to patients that other patients have reviewed and overseen the design and delivery of the trial and that their interests have been represented."
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience of health research?
I’m Dave Chuter, 66 from Middleton-on-Sea, near Bognor Regis. I’m a retired Print consultant. I’m married, with two daughters, two grandsons and one granddaughter. In 2006, I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and I had surgery to remove my oesophagus and three quarters of my stomach.
When I was receiving treatment, there was no local patient support for me so in December 2006 I established a local support group based in Guildford - the OG Support Group which is running monthly meetings 15 years later. I got into research because patients who had been asked to go on a trial asked me if I knew anything about research and I needed find the answers as part of our patient support. I then became more interested in research myself and became more involved.
What motivated you to become a Research Champion?
I became a Research Champion because I want to help others understand the trials they have been asked to go on and answer their questions about research. As a patient, I can help researchers understand what the research will mean to a patient and how to recruit patients to a study.
What activities have you been involved with as a RC and what difference do you feel they make to others and to research?
In 2009, I joined the Cancer Partnership Research Group in the Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire Cancer Research Network (SWSH CPRG). I joined to understand more about research and I chaired the group for three years. After we lost funding, I then became a Research Champion with Western Sussex NHS Foundation Trust.
I have been asked and have accepted to chair the new Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance PPIE committee based at the Royal Surrey County Hospital.
I’m involved with the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Living With & Beyond Cancer Group as a consumer (People affected by cancer who contribute to NCRI activities). I’m also a part of the NCRI Consumer Forum ‘Dragons Den’ workshop. Researchers come to Consumers with a research study they are looking at designing and ask us what the best way of doing the research is. We pull the proposal apart and help them to design the study so it is suitable for patients.
Recently I have been elected to the NIHR Research Selection Committee, as a PPIE member looking at research at the funding stage.
I’m also a PPIE member of Digestives Cancer Europe looking at their roadmap for digestive cancer across Europe.
Research Champions make a difference because they can give reassurance to patients that other patients have reviewed and overseen the design and delivery of the trial and that their interests have been represented.
How has being a Research Champion benefited you and how have you been supported?
I’ve learnt a lot about research about the medical terms and issues hospitals have with dealing with patients and trials, support was by medical mentors of the NCRI and other organisations . I’m now retired and research has given me something to get my teeth into. I feel I do make a difference by being the voice representing patients in research and that I am giving something back for my successful treatment and the research that led to it.