Research was empowering for Guernsey


BETWEEN 1964 and 1990, about 30,000 blood samples were collected from 11,000 local women.

Wanting to know what had happened to them, some of the original participants in the trials recently attended a presentation by Dr Paul Townsend, from the University of Southampton.

Knowing all these years later that blood they donated is being used for pioneering research into the early detection of breast cancer is quite a special feeling, according to 72-year-old Angela White.

'I donated blood in around 1968. Sister [Elizabeth] Lincoln could be pretty persuasive: you couldn't say no to her. But now, knowing what it's being used for, I feel like it's quite empowering for Guernsey to be a part of this research,' she said.

She made it sound quite special at the time. It was so long ago but it makes us quite proud. I thought the samples would have degenerated by now, but the fact they're still being used is lovely. I just hope they find what they're looking for.' Long before Paul and his team of researchers were on the scene, Sister Lincoln was instrumental in setting up the project in the 60s and collecting samples. They were always intended for cancer research and she was later awarded an MBE for her services to the cause. She died in 2003.

'If you knew Sister Lincoln, there was no way you could say no to her and I knew her quite well,' said Elsie Patterson, 89.

'I gave samples in about 1982 and it's amazing to hear how they're being used. I had no idea it was going to be used for research into breast cancer, I just thought it was for general health. I'm just very, very pleased it's been useful.'

GEP Article by Nicci Martel 14 November 2008

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