Amanda Heslegrave – Senior Research Associate – UK DRI
Amanda with Scott Mitchell, Barbara Windsor’s husband, who visited the lab with the BBC recently.
In the fluid biomarker lab, my team curates the UK DRI biobank. We take in, process, and biobank all the biological samples that come in and do a lot of sample analysis.
I first heard that the Dementia Revolution was the charity for the London marathon from Adrian, one of my co-PIs here. He said, “they’re looking for runners to run for the UK DRI, you run, don’t you?”. I don’t run marathons every week anymore, but I used to, and I still run a lot.
I signed up and was invited to a meeting of Dementia Revolutionaries last September. This is where I got to meet other people who are running for the Dementia Revolution, including some from familial Alzheimer’s families.
Sitting next to Carli at the meeting, she asked if I thought I’d handled some of her spinal fluid. It was only a few weeks before that I was measuring samples from the DIAN study, and I realised that I probably had. That was a really nice moment.
Now, when I’m doing something in the lab, I’ll think about how they aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet, they’re people. And some of them are involved in this research not because it will help them but because it may help their kids. It’s a sobering thought. It makes you think we’re involved in something good.
I’ve run the London Marathon six times before and have always raced for a good time. But this year I’m running it for something I believe in, and even more so having met Carli and her family.
I’m looking forward to the day and I hope that perhaps I’ll be able to run with her. There are 10 cheer points throughout the marathon route, where there will be Dementia Revolution supporters making lots of noise. I aim to walk through all of these to fully enjoy their support.
I know how important the research that we do is. And at the UK DRI we’re proving that putting researchers together, in such a great collaborative environment, makes research more productive. It’s special – no one’s had such a big vision for dementia research before. That’s why the funds are so essential. To make sure we make the most of it.
Article republished from MRC Blog, 26th April 2019
For further information and to donate to the Dementia Revolution, visit www.dementiarevolution.org