Case study: Why I am championing research: Laurence’s story
" I felt so grateful and humbled by the experience of being ill with COVID-19 that I wanted to give something back and becoming a Research Champion looked like a good way to do that."
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience of health research.
I’m Laurence Penn, aged 55 and I work in IT. I became involved with research because I was hospitalised with COVID-19 in March 2020. I spent 29 days in a coma and 47 days in total in Worthing Hospital. During that time I was involved in two drug trials, including the RECOVERY trial and as I was being discharged I became involved in another trial (COVID-OR). I now wear a FitBit to track my activity and heartbeat to measure effects of long COVID.
What motivated you to become a Research Champion?
I felt so grateful and humbled by the experience of being ill with COVID-19 that I wanted to give something back and becoming a Research Champion looked like a good way to do that.
What activities have you been involved with as a Research Champion and what difference do you feel they make to others and to research?
Since September, I have sat on the NIHR UPH panel as a public member, where we assess which studies should be badged UPH studies. It has been fascinating and I have enjoyed being involved. I am also going through the Research Champion induction process being run by CRN Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
How has being a Research Champion benefited you and how have you been supported?
Being a Research Champion and taking part in research trials makes you see differently how the NHS operates and you realise that many people really do care about it. I am enjoying being part of the UPH panel and being a part of the NIHR and CRN. I’m looking forward to meeting other Research Champions in the region when it is safe to do so to talk about how to promote research taking place and talking to people about why they should consider taking part in a study.