20220125_151735 Graham photo.jpgGraham Reeder – Research Champion 


Here, Graham Reeder, a 72-year-old retired teacher, tells his story

Condition: Rheumatoid arthritis. I was diagnosed in 2010. I’m on immunosuppressive drugs so have been shielding since March.


How has lockdown been for you?

It’s been alright. I have a supportive wife, a large, weed-free garden and am retired. Everything we need is delivered, including the daily paper! If I have a concern or question my consultant is only an email away. Socially, I have embraced online video communication so we have weekly family quizzes along with weekly Rotary meetings.


How did you get involved in research?

I was on a large cocktail of drugs including prednisolone, methotrexate and co-codamol. I had reached a plateau, as far as the progress went, and was asked by my consultant if I was happy to take part in a trial for biological drugs. I had no hesitation in agreeing as I trusted him explicitly. The service I received was extraordinary. Text messages, phone calls, no queues, no waiting. I had a 5-star service. However, I realized that this trial had to be a two-way process so I lost 10 kilos in weight and cut back significantly on my alcohol intake. My initial CRP was 179, it is now less than 1.


How have you been supporting research during a lockdown?

I’ve been attending virtual Zoom meetings with North Thames Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Lead, Christine Menzies. They’ve been really interesting, and we’ve been discussing a wide range of subjects, including reviewing the NIHR’s new Value Framework and helping to create a ‘thank you’ video for the NHS. I am also looking into presenting a ‘Be part of Research’ talk to over 300 Rotarians on a webinar video meeting for later this year.


What would you advise others who are thinking about getting involved in research during a lockdown?

Check out all the resources online. The ‘Be part of Research’ website is great and has been updated with COVID advice and information. Do not be afraid of taking part in a research programme. You will be looked after and receive fantastic treatment; you will be helping others as cures and vaccines are discovered.