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Patient, volunteer, and now recruitment ambassador…Alison encourages others to sign up to Cambridge NIHR BioResource

Patient, volunteer, and now recruitment ambassador…Alison encourages others to sign up to Cambridge NIHR BioResource.

Alison Howat knows what it means to take part in research – whether as a patient or volunteer or advisory panel member for the Cambridge NIHR BioResource.
Just lately she’s also been a recruitment ambassador for the BioResource – encouraging others to sign up to donate their biological samples such as blood and saliva to research.
And she had the perfect opportunity in October, at the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) open evening, where members of the public could find out about some of the research taking place on their doorstep.
Alison said: “I helped out at the BioResource stand, where I was on hand to talk about what’s involved for volunteers and the kind of samples they may be asked to donate.
“From my role on the BioResource advisory panel I know that younger people (aged 16-35) are under-represented in the BioResource demographic, so I wanted in particular to reach out to local sixth-form students who came along and encourage them to volunteer.”
“The evening was buzzing, and it was great to talk with not only the college students but with people of all ages, who were really keen to see how they could help researchers by volunteering to the BioResource tissue bank.”
Not everyone who signed up on the day will volunteer their blood or saliva sample to the tissue bank. And that’s okay, as Cambridge NIHR BioResource’s (Senior Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator) Andrew Dymond said: “What’s important is that people like Alison have planted a seed, and the second, third or even tenth time people come across us they may think, this is something I want to get involved in, and sign up in the future.”
 The NIHR Cambridge BRC Open Evening took place on 16 October 2017 at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. Alison and the Cambridge NIHR BioResource team talked to more than 50 people on the day, of whom 39 signed up asking for more information about becoming a volunteer.
 To find out how you can become a volunteer at the Cambridge BioResource visit their website (