I got to do something very cool last week. I got to be involved in an interview panel, along with 2 scientific professionals, interviewing and potentially approving a cancer research grant, funded by the Irish Cancer Society. Last year I joined their first PPI Panel, which is a Public and Patient Involvement Panel that lends experience and insight into cancer research projects, from a patient’s point of view. The entire research grant process includes medical professionals, scientific professionals and now, members of the PPI Panel. Medical and scientific members look after whether the research application is actually viable and then they brought in the PPI Panel representatives (me in this case!) for the first time last year to review the side of the research application that will help the public and to ensure that there is involvement in the research project from the relevant public bodies and patient advocates.
It was great to go into the Irish Cancer Society offices last year and meet the research team and meet fellow cancer survivors and to have us all sit down and discuss how this new panel can help bring cancer research to the next level in regards to public and patient involvement. It’s so important that the public know what is going on in relation to cancer research and this will now ensure that the regular Joe public is regarded in research applications and decisions.
The Irish Cancer Society started this panel last year so it is relatively new but it is amazing to be involved in something that can proactively help research and go towards improvements in screening, mid and post cancer treatments. To be able to have an input from the ground up, is something that I am super proud to be involved in. I always say to Jonny that after I got sick, I just wanted to be able to help. I didn’t know how or who I could help but I didn’t want this crappy experience of The Big C to have happened for no reason and not to pull anything good from it. Sometimes it is hard to see the wood from the trees but I really do believe that with this blog and then with being involved with the PPI Panel and the Irish Cancer Society that I am putting my experience to good use.
I’m excited to see what’s next!