I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy to remove and reconstruct my breasts. Mr Ross, a plastic surgeon at Guy’s, led my surgery. He’s the reason I wanted to give back to Guy’s.
After my illness, I lost my way for a bit – I kept thinking ‘why me?’. I wanted to use my own academic background to benefit others, and working with researchers helped me to find my confidence again. I know that I may not directly benefit from the research I am helping with in my own lifetime, but I am happy that my contribution will help someone else one day.
I am part of the Patient and Public Involvement Advisory Group (PPIAG), so I talk to researchers about how to reach patients who might be wary of research, and I talk to patients about why research is such a positive thing. I hope I put a human face on what these amazing men and women do.
I get a lot out of knowing that I have helped someone to feel confident enough to take part in research, but for me, the simple fact that I turned my diagnosis into something positive is something I’ll always treasure.