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Research Champion - Norman's story

Research Champion - Norman's story

Norman Hesketh-Hart is a Research Champion with CRN Greater Manchester. 

Born and raised in the North West, Norman Hesketh-Hart is 71 and a Type 2 Diabetic. A former project manager at a global petrochemical organisation, Norman has previously worked in the Middle East, the Far East, Africa and Europe.  

He retired and was enjoying a quiet life in Manchester when in 2007 he had a heart attack. Whilst in North Manchester General Hospital recovering from a stent procedure, one of the nurses said to Norman that she suspected he might be a diabetic. Having previously had no symptoms he was puzzled, but then recalled during his life having dizzy spells and feeling faint and in retrospect now knew these must have been the result of low blood sugar levels which can cause a diabetic to pass out if not addressed.

Staff at the diabetic clinic he attended asked him if he was interested in going on a research study for different medications. He agreed and has since been on several studies into investigating new procedures and drugs for diabetics.

Through these contacts he attended an NIHR CRN Greater Manchester event and got talking to a member of staff who encouraged him to become a Research Champion. Norman explains why he chose to become a Champion. 

He said: “In 2015 I underwent open heart surgery. If medical research hadn’t been there, they wouldn’t have been able to treat me.

"Becoming a Research Champion allows me to give something back by raising awareness of research and the more people who take part in research the better because we are helping future generations."

In his capacity as a champion, Norman has been involved in discussion groups, presented at an NIHR CRN induction day to speak about his experience and has been interviewed for local television about research at the launch of the Be Part of Research campaign.

“What interests me is what needs to change. There are four million undiagnosed diabetics in the UK and I want to raise awareness and make a difference. Research is so important - I am passionate about finding ways to make research more accessible.”