Chris - Interview 07
Age at Interview:
Chris is a finance office manager. She is divorced and has no children. Ethnic background/nationality: White English.
Brief outline:Chris has been a healthy volunteer in several biobanking studies over a number of years. She started with the UK Biobank, but has since become a regular healthy participant in diabetes research. She likes to feel she is helping others.
More about me...
But so doing the food, but going back to the food diaries, it’s as interesting for me to write down what I eat as I think it is for the people that are studying it. Because every sweet you eat you write down as well, so like one boiled cough candy, [laughter] and it’s amazing. When I looked through it I thought, “Goodness.” Whilst I eat, [pause] I seem to graze all day, I more than likely don’t eat huge volumes of anything. And again I found that really interesting. It’s a bit of a pain measuring stuff, but again, a bit like when you’re on a diet many years ago, you actually get to know what something weighs, so like, you know, I know just by putting a little spot of milk in my tea that’s less than a teaspoon, you know. So, and it’s measuring those sort of things. It was interesting. And I have been thanked, specifically thanked for doing such a good food diary, which was nice because, you know, it does take a bit of time.
Did it surprise you when you looked at it?
Yes, yes it did. The main surprise, though, I think was – well, they say, “Don’t change anything you do.” However, I think human nature makes you. I can, at work we have lots of cakes and lots of sweets. It’s always cakes and sweets in offices, isn’t there? And if I have a cake, you know, if there’s cakes there because of a birthday I will have a piece of cake, but if there’s sweets in the office, I mean, you just sit and pick them up as you want them. When I was doing the food diary, I actually was sat there one day and I can remember doing it, thinking, “Oh, I’ll have one of those sweets.” And I thought, “No, don’t”, and I thought I can’t be bothered to write it down, so it almost makes you think, maybe as a training programme for other people who are obese, say to people, “Write down everything you eat”, because it makes you conscious of what you’re doing.
What do you feel you get from it?
The satisfaction. Well, I like to think, I have a brother, a twin brother - maybe one of the reasons I do it - I have a twin brother who’s blind, and he was born blind, and my mum’s attitude, which I guess follows down through generations, was that he would, she let him have any operation that was going, and we’re talking of fifty years ago, so it’s a long time ago and technology’s moved on enormously since then, but she let him have any operation that was going because there might have been a chance that he could see. And he never did see, he still can’t see now, but I think that attitude of, “Well, let’s try it” has passed on to me. And I like to think that maybe I’m helping future generations overcome some of the problems that we all have. One of things that the studies always do tell me is that what they’re looking for is not to help me in my lifetime, because studies take 30, 40 years, you know, to come to fruition, but it’s for, it will help other people. And I think going back over my life people must have done that for my brother to have those operations. And I suppose I came to think of it in terms of, “I’ll do my little bit to help.”
I think that’s the main reason I do it. I just like to think I’m helping somebody. I do blood donoring, since I was in my twenties. I’m frightened, don’t like the sight of blood - I actually hate the sight of blood. And one of the things in the studies, they do many, I’ve had lots and lots of blood tests, and they take lots of blood. It’s not just a little tiny one. They’ve got all these different phials to one side, and you’ve got your arm there, and I have to look away. I can’t look while they’re doing it [laughs]. But they do it, and they take loads. And I think, “Well, as long as I don’t see it.” But actually I think last time I was getting a bit braver, and I’m thinking, “Oh, it’s not that bad,” [laughs]. So yeah, I think the main reason I do it is to, I like to think that maybe somewhere along the lines I’m helping somebody else.
For anybody that’s asked to take part I would say I don’t think you’re going to come to any harm by it. You might hopefully be helping somebody else in society. It might be 30 years away from now, but it would be nice to look back and think that, you know, maybe for your children, your grandchildren, to say, “My grandma helped me, you know. I’ve now got something wrong, but it wasn’t for her efforts there may not be a cure.” Because I like to think that everything I do is helping somebody get cured of something eventually.
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