When the alarm went off at 6.25am on Saturday morning my body shrieked at me to stay in bed! However, as I had accepted an invitation to give a presentation on research to the Association visitor (AV) workshop that was taking place in Harrogate later that morning, it was a case of mind over matter! I was on the road by 7.15am.
Association visitors are volunteers that stay in contact with people with MND offering them a friendly, listening ear and ensure they receive the support and services they require. I usually meet one or two AVs when I attend branch meetings, so the workshop was a great opportunity to spend time with them exclusively.
The talk I gave was broadly based on the recently approved research strategy for 2010 – 2015. The strategy covers seven strategic themes: finding the causes of MND, creating better laboratory models, identifying disease markers, developing the research workforce, improving the clinical /care research base, facilitating information exchange and strengthening partnerships and influencing. For each of these I explained why they are important to move us towards a world free of MND and giving some examples of current activities and future plans. The strategy isn’t on our website yet, but will be soon!
I talked for about an hour and took some questions afterwards. Some of the questions were about the talk and some were on more general things, for example, there was a question about the lithium clinical trial . There was also a question about raising awareness of MND research amongst neurologists and GPs.
Making MND research simple and easy to understand is one of my passions, so I was pleased to get some good feedback from the talk. I caught up with more general news and answered a few more questions over lunch. By 1.30pm I was off across the beautiful Yorkshire countryside to visit friends nearby.