Wendy Mitchell on The Power of Research

Wendy Mitchell

Wendy Mitchell

Wendy is the author of Sunday Times Best Seller, Somebody I Used to Know, published in the UK by Bloomsbury.

She also writes a fantastic blog about living with dementia – www.whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com

You can find Wendy on Twitter @WendyPMitchell

Imagine yourselves being given a diagnosis of Young-onset Dementia:

Your life falls apart, you feel worthless and of no use to anyone any more.. Services are non existent in this area so you feel abandoned. That’s what happened to me in July 2014 at the age of 58 when I was diagnosed with Young-onset Dementia. Now, imagine, if someone came along and asked for your opinions, asked you to be involved in gathering information. Someone who was genuinely interested in what you had to say. Someone who was interested in you. Imagine how that would make you feel..

Imagine the impact on your well being – finally hearing someone acknowledging that you still had something to give; that you still had a valuable opinion and views that mattered. That’s what happened to me when I started to be involved in research.

When I was diagnosed with Young-onset Dementia in 2014 I was given no hope, the one feeling I so badly needed to feel at that point. It wasn’t so much hope for me but hope for my daughters, future generations, not to have to receive such a devastating diagnosis. Then one day I was asked if I’d like to be involved in the launch of a research database called Join Dementia Research. This was the hope I desperately needed so I jumped at the chance. I refer to it as a matchmaking website for researchers and willing volunteers.

Without research we can’t change the future and without hope our lives seem worthless. Now I’m involved and have been involved in so many research trials that I can no longer list them all; clinical, social and technological, all equally important.

So I’m here before you today as someone all researchers seek out on a daily basis – a willing participant.. Why am I so willing? Because being involved has given me back that sense of purpose that a diagnosis of dementia stripped away from me. Because research gives me hope that my daughters will have a better future.

That’s why I wholly support the introduction of the new research website for rare cancers, RareCan. This aims to do exactly the same for people unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with one of the rarer cancers. This is YOUR hope. Often, with rare types of any condition research is hard to find, harder to come by, this website will enable YOU to identify yourself as a possible participant. At a time when you’re probably at your lowest, having just been diagnosed, taking part in research will give you back that sense of worth, of value, just like it gave me.

Remember, we can’t change the future without research..