Date: 08 February 2017
Monique from Newbury tells us about her experience of taking part in research and why she feels it is so important.
How did you come to take part in health research?
"I was previously a teacher, and when I discovered I had Parkinson’s in 2014, I immediately wanted to learn more. I found out about the Parkinson’s Monument Discovery Project taking place at the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre (OPDC) and was able to join it. Being part of such a vast project is very exciting."
What would you say to people interested in taking part in research?
"I would encourage anyone to ask if there are any research studies they might be able to take part in. It is vital that people volunteer to take part in research aiming to help people with health conditions including Parkinson’s.
"I have taken part in more than eight studies and strongly believe that without people like my husband and I helping, with and without Parkinson’s, we couldn't move forward so quickly in finding solutions."
Which studies have you found most interesting?
"I have found the psychology studies looking at how Parkinson’s affects people’s behaviour most interesting to take part in. They are more hands on than just having MRI scans. It's interesting talking with the various researchers and finding out more about the studies and their aims. It is also interesting as you never know how your condition is going to affect your psyche eventually, if at all. Personally, I feel it is better to be forewarned."
Do you feel you have benefited from taking part in research?
"At a time in my life when I cannot do what I used to, taking part in health research gives me a sense of purpose and of still belonging to society and playing my part. It keeps my brain going and gives me hope that one day other people like us, their families and friends will benefit from the results. I have no doubt participating in these studies has helped my confidence.
"I have also organised three successful charity fundraising events in Oxford which have raised over £6,600, of which approximately £4,500 will go to help research into Parkinson’s. These also helped raise public awareness of the condition, which many people don’t know much about. I have also taken part in interviews to raise awareness of research.
"I would like to say thank you to all the health specialists and their teams without whose hard work and dedication research studies would not happen. Thank you for the hope for the future."