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‘Research is such a vital tool’

‘Research is such a vital tool’

“When you’re watching funerals on Zoom, it really brings it home to you.”

Esla Cambridge is talking about the impact of coronavirus on her local community.

Several people she knew died of the virus, and it has only strengthened her resolve to be a passionate research advocate.

She said: “Now really is a good time to get involved in research. We don’t know what is going to happen in the future. Coronavirus has affected the whole world in a short space of time, so research is such a vital tool.”

Esla, who lives in Edgware, Middlesex, lives with chronic pain after complications following a road traffic accident several years ago.

She attends regular pain clinics at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, and is a CRN North Thames Research Champion, spreading the word about the research to patients and the public.

Her passion for research was initially fired after she took part in a sciatica trial. Although it was a worldwide trial of a new drug, she was the only person in London to take part. It drove her to find out more about research.

Esla is also a trustee of a shopmobility charity in Harrow. As someone who has mobility issues and uses the service herself, becoming a trustee was something she really wanted to do.

In the role, she helps to ensure that those who need it get use of mobility scooters and wheelchairs so they can go about their daily lives.

“I use a mobility scooter myself when I go shopping,” explained Esla. “So it’s great that I can help others to achieve some independence by going to the bank or wherever it might be.”

Coronavirus lockdown has been hard for everybody, but particularly for members of the BAME community. Research suggests there is greater prevalence of COVID-19 among that community.

Esla, who herself is part of the BAME community, said: “I haven’t been too scared, but I do know people who have died of COVID. Watching funerals on Zoom really brings it home to you how deadly coronavirus can be.

“Everyone has been really engaged in research since the pandemic started, and for me, that’s what research is all about.

“Everyone is really learning about the race to find a vaccine. There’s never been a better time to get involved in research.”

To find out more about research taking place in your area, visit the Be Part of Research website.