It took me quite a while to understand this concept after being diagnosed with allergies, but oh has it made such a difference. As I entered my senior year of high school, college applications were looming and I wasn’t sure how I could manage living on a college campus with my allergies. As a family, we started brainstorming what to do…
The credit goes to my dad for finding a research study that fit my needs. With the #1 research hospital in the country in my city, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center became a second home for me. My reason for starting a peanut allergy study was very personal – I was looking to find a cure for myself to make my college experience easier. Period.
However, I uncapped new knowledge that broadened my interest in the research process. Becoming a “test subject” in a research study gave me access to some of the most educated allergists in the country. While the medical knowledge wasn’t in my background, my 8-hour food challenge appointments opened a window of opportunity for me to ask and listen to professionals in the field of allergy research.
If I only realized one thing, it would be this – becoming involved in research can be a way to help yourself. But, the opportunity is there to help so many more people. I’m proud to say that the three-year research study I participated in was more beneficial to future young children with allergies than it was to myself! I’ve stayed involved with research because it offers the ability to help children who may not have the opportunity to participate. Since most of the participants were much younger in this study, I offered the additional benefit of being a functioning adult who was able to verbalize my symptoms and concerns throughout the process.
Here is my plea – get involved in research. There are only so many people in the world with food allergies and the medical field needs your help in making a difference. The docs can be the smartest people in the world, but without the allergy sufferers’ participation, no cure can be found. If you’re a healthy subject, get involved in research. Research studies are constantly looking for “healthy” subjects as a comparative resource!
I know participating in a research study can be time consuming, stressful, or uncomfortable, but it is SO important. Research participation can help you make a difference in the world.
For readers in the Cincinnati region, here is the link to the research studies currently enrolling at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center – https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/service/c/clinical-trials/search-studies.
For readers not in Cincinnati – https://clinicaltrials.gov/.