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Research and lockdown: Graham's story

Research and lockdown: Graham's story
This week, CRN North Thames is highlighting the stories of some of its COVID-vulnerable Research Champions as shielding restrictions are scheduled to be paused from August 1. Here, Graham Reeder, a 72-year-old retired teacher, tells his story.
 
What’s your condition? Rheumatoid arthritis. I was diagnosed in 2010. I’m on immunosuppressive drugs so have been shielding since March.
 
How has lockdown been for you? It’s been alright. I have a supportive wife, a large, weed-free garden and am retired. Everything we need is delivered, including the daily paper! If I have a concern or question my consultant is only an email away. Socially, I have embraced online video communication, so we have weekly family quizzes along with weekly Rotary meetings.
 
How did you get involved in research? I was on a large cocktail of drugs including prednisolone, methotrexate and cocodamol. I had reached a plateau, as far as progress went, and was asked by my consultant, if I was happy to take part in a trial for biologic drugs. I had no hesitation in agreeing as I trusted him explicitly. The service I received was extraordinary. Text messages, phone calls, no queues, no waiting. I had a five-star service. However, I realized that this trial had to be a two-way process so I lost 10 kilos in weight and cut back significantly on my alcohol intake.
 
How have you been supporting research during lockdown? I’ve been attending virtual meetings with North Thames Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Lead, Christine Menzies. They’ve been really interesting, and we’ve been discussing a wide range of subjects, including helping to create a ‘thank you’ video for the NHS. I am also looking into presenting a ‘Be Part of Research’ talk to more than 300 Rotarians on a webinar video meeting later this year.
 
What would you advise others who are thinking about getting involved in research during lockdown? Check out all the resources online. The ‘Be part of Research’ website is great and has been updated with COVID advice and information. Do not be afraid of taking part in a research programme. You will be looked after and receive fantastic care; and you will be helping others as cures and vaccines are discovered.
 
To find out more about research taking place in your area, visit the Be Part of Research website.