Mother and daughter Helen and Nicola Avery have found a unique way to grow their already strong relationship: by sharing their clinical trial experiences with each other.
Both members of this United Kingdom-based family have participated in Parkinson’s disease (PD) research. “My mum is a total hero for getting involved,” says Nicola, 40, who explains that Helen didn’t let a recent arm operation prevent her from giving herself to science.
“I believe that each of us can play just a tiny part, that every pebble can make a difference,” says Helen, 67.
As a learning technologies projects adviser at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in London, Nicola knew all about the challenges of recruiting for trials before getting involved herself. But she was inspired to take the next step by her taekwondo instructor Mark, who has continued to practice the sport since his diagnosis with PD four years ago.
“Mark’s an inspiration, the way he runs our training sessions despite his Parkinson’s,” explains Nicola. “The disease has certainly not stopped him from his work ‘fighting dragons’, as he calls it.”
Unsure of how to get started, Nicola came across Fox Trial Finder, and completed a registration. “I’d always been interested in signing up for a study, but I’d never put my toe through the door. Fox Trial Finder helped to give me that extra little push that I needed.”
Nicola’s first match turned out to be an imaging study at Imperial College in London. “Fox Trial Finder was incredibly easy to use,” she says. “I was surprised about how little information you actually had to supply about yourself, and, then, how quickly I had matches!”
Helen, for her part, participated in another imaging study in London. Nicola initially brought up the idea of clinical trial participation to her mom, who was very receptive to the idea. “I figured they could use someone my age,” says Helen.
“To me, it’s more of a privilege than anything else to take part,” she adds. “It’s great to know that you can help someone.”
Clinical trial participation has also provided mother and daughter with the chance to connect on something new. Says Nicola:
“It’s been so nice to be able to talk with mum about going to the clinical trial site, and some of the specifics of the day; the various tests we’ve both undergone, about what it’s like to go into the fMRI machine.
“We’ve always been close. But sharing this experience, and doing so intimately, has provided another opportunity for us to grow our relationship. I’m very thankful for this.”
Set out on your own clinical trial experience by completing a profile at Fox Trial Finder today.