When I retired after working for the school district for the last 45 years, I thought I had it all planned out. I’m on the healthier side of 67, but eventually, I began thinking a lot about the future and what would be left behind once I pass on. While looking for volunteer opportunities, I discovered an ad on social media for a healthy senior study. Thus, my journey as a research volunteer began. This is my clinical trial story.
How I Became A Research Volunteer
After a simple application, a member of the research team reached out to me. She explained more about what the healthy senior study was with a general overview. She then gathered some health and contact information. They use that information to see if you may be a good fit to move to the next screening stage for the study. Each one has candidate criteria that either include an applicant or excludes them.
I learned so much in that first trial, even though it was one appointment. The informed consent process gives me all the information I need to know to decide. You see, it’s all voluntary, so you have the power to stop at any time. That choice was significant to me because there’s always some risk involved and an occasional bump in the road.
How Clinical Trials Improved My Life
I’ve participated in some other clinical trials since then. The impact on my life has been immense. No matter the length of commitment, each time I participate makes a difference. The pandemic can be so isolating, but I look forward to my appointments with the research team. When I am helping others, I don’t feel as down as I did before. Knowing I’m making a difference drives me to keep going.
I get a call when new studies become available to see if I am interested. Katy and Nicole on the research team are like family, and they work hard to keep me as safe as possible. They continue to teach me things that allow me to take better care of myself. I also get paid for time and travel when I participate in a study, and believe me, it adds up quickly!
The Enduring Legacy of Research Volunteers
I’ve witnessed the loss of loved ones from both outside and personal perspectives during this pandemic. What it teaches me is that life is fleeting, but you’re never too old to make a difference. I’m helping to advance medicine that will one day help a family member or someone I’ve never met. This is why I continue to participate in clinical trials.